Military asks Senate to repeal DADT

Seriously. Well, except the Marines and a few specialist branches – they want to keep it.

Why, after 17 years, is the US Military so hot to take Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell out of the policy manual?

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates also urged the Senate to act quickly, warning that the military doesn’t want change imposed by “judicial fiat.” Speaking at the Pentagon, he alluded to a recent string of court opinions calling the legal viability of the current policy into doubt.

 

I don’t doubt the military wants Senate and not the courts to repeal it – because by the Senate means that when the current combat missions are over, they will try to bring DADT back in some form.

Kicking gays out of the US Military is a peace time activity.

Placebos – fake treatment, real effect

The idea that the mind can be tricked with proper staging and a sugar pill is well known if not entirely understood.

The Placebo effect works for subjective assessments of illness – how much pain, tiredness and other symptoms that typically vary from person to person.

The Placebo effect does not work for illnesses or conditions that can be measured – the mind cannot trick the body that a sugar pill will shrink a tumor, mend a broken bone or any other symptom that can be measured.

Drug trials have to try to eliminate the placebo effect with blind studies – one group gets the medicine, one group gets a placebo and one control group gets nothing. For a drug to be approved, it must have results that are better than the placebo group.

While we don’t fully understand how the placebo effect works or really, why it works; I can’t help but wonder if it also works in reverse.

How many times have you phoned someone to get out of some event or work,  claiming vague ailments and within a short time span, begin to experience the very symptoms?

It is just guilt?

Or, did you have to psyche yourself for the phone call and by so doing, triggered a scenario that your brain has accepted as real and so perceives it as real? Maybe even manifests as real….

Placebo is not about actually feeling more or less of anything, but rather, what the person’s perception of what they are feeling is.

People who are left in a hospital room and have doctors and nurses coming in to check on them, tend to report less pain and discomfort because they perceive that they are being cared for.

People who are left in a hospital room and being delivered medicine through an IV but don’t have doctors or nurses coming in to check, do not report changes in their pain levels despite being the group actually on medication.

How we perceive a subjective condition like pain or pleasure appears to depend in large part to the context and scene setting. Sort of like the way that little children who fall down, don’t cry until an adult or other child freaks out.

So, in some aspect, how you set your mind to perceive and understand stimulus, events, interactions, appears to go a long way to shaping those events and interactions.

pj mcilvaine & goliath (via celluloid blonde)

PJ is a writer friend of mine – we co-wrote a fabulous comedy script – Madam Mom – and this is appalling.

I only hope that another studio wants the movie rights and PJ gets to write the script as part of the deal.

pj mcilvaine & goliath   The day PJ McIlvaine was — Supposed to be celebrating the baptism of a child, two strangers knocked on her door and informed her, in front of her children, 20th Century Fox was suing her for 15 million dollars. Two hours later, after grilling her with questions for two solid hours, they left her stunned and crying in her living room staring at a business card that stated they were “private investigators.” This was the first contact PJ ha … Read More

via celluloid blonde

Three Day Novel Contest

The  Three Day Novel Contest is a great experience.
The Official Survival Guide has many good tips, so I offer these additional ones from my own nine years of entering the competition.

Make the contest work for you, with the maximum creativity and the least amount of stress.

OUTLINES

I used them the first three years and later discontinued them. They were never more than 1 line per chapter.

The reason that I stopped was because halfway through the novel, the characters would develop in unexpected directions, and you have to let them – they know themselves better.

I start each contest with a clear idea of the roughed in character and what obstacles they are going to overcome and what the underlying message/theme is of the story.

FOOD

Make food the day before, potato salad, chilli, or plan to eat canned soup, hot dogs, as balanced as you can, fast to prepare and consume.

Better yet, have a second person in the house to cook for you so you can wolf down good food and go away, but make sure they understand what you are doing and that you don’t have time for chatting, visiting, sex or anything. And they can’t be noisy. They must love to do quiet things. Like fan you and feed you grapes.

Avoid sugary and/or fried foods and keep caffeine to a minimum. These will make you dopey, stimulated and you will not be able to sit and write. Fresh fruit, veggies and low fat protein.

EXERCISE

Take a break every two hours. Your second person comes in handy to make you. You must get up and move – just 20 mins, around the block, to get the juices flowing in your body. You need to stretch and increase your oxygen levels.

PACE YOURSELF

There’s no sense starting midnight on the Friday, just go to bed early ans start Saturday morning. Do not muck with your normal body patterns.

The goal is 120 pages by Monday. You can also do 100. Set a specific page count and divide the time.

Each day there are three major writing sessions, so, using 120 pages=

Breakfast to lunch = 12 pages

Lunch to Dinner = 12 pages

Dinner to bed = 18 pages

= 40 pages in 1 day x 3 days = 120 pages

Now, if you get more than the quota, it’s bonus time, but don’t stop because you will experience:

I’M A HACK

I had this down to a science. the first couple of years, this could take most of Sunday, usually from 10:30 to 7 pm.

The last time I wrote the contest, I had this phase down to 10:30 to 11:15.

Dealing with the I’m a hack – well. … you have to accept that you are not, otherwise you wouldn’t write the contest or care about writing which is really about communicating with other people. You are a writer, and that’s because you have something to say, not because you’re chasing the Hollywood dream bucks.

Don’t edit your writing. This usually brings on the I’m a hack – just write.

If you have a second person, their job come mid-Sunday is to read your writing – edit for typos, story arcs, character – let them go away and do this, in between cooking for you and feeding you grapes.

HAVE FUN

This is actually a fun thing to do. Just remember, eat well, get your proper sleep, and pace yourself.

And, at the end, you will have a major bit of writing, that you can use to turn into a screenplay, or flesh out over the next year into a full length novel.

It’s the best kick in the pants a writer can get.

Athiest in the Electric Chair

I had an idea for a short script – I tend to have words, ideas bounce in my head all the time and every now and then, they collide and I have a private showing of a short or feature movie flash through my mind. Since I am a sharing kind of gal (this is the first and only draft):

INT. PRISON HALLWAY – DAY

Two guards escort an atheist along Dead Man Walking corridor towards the execution chamber

Guard one: You sure you don’t want to talk to the priest?

Prisoner: I’m an atheist.

Guard One: Even now?

Prisoner: Even now.

The trio reach the door. Guard two opens it and they enter the execution chamber.

INT. EXECUTION CHAMBER – DAY

The room is spare – the electric chair is the centerpiece. The two guards settle the prisoner into the chair, strap him in, places the wet sponge on his head and then lowers the metal cap into place.

Guard Two moves to the phone, waiting for the governor’s call.

Guard One: You really aren’t going to confess?

Prisoner: I plead guilty, what’s left?

Guard One: I didn’t mean that kind, I meant, you know, to God.

Prisoner: Atheist, I don’t accept claims for any deities, there’s no proof.

Guard One: Atheism is a religious belief you know, you are believing in evolution and science without proof. You’re taking it on faith that there’s no god.

Prisoner: There’s a lot of evidence…Okay, if it makes you feel better, fine. Atheism is my religion. Atheists are individuals, not group think herd animals. So my religion is determined by me.

Guard One: See, that why atheists are arrogant, you think you know better than God. Like you are some kind of god.

Prisoner: It’s not arrogant to think that there’s a powerful entity out there who can create the universe but still have time to worry about what people do with their genitals?

Guard One: Don’t dump on God.

Prisoner: Okay, my atheist religion requires that I have to eat more chocolate pudding.

The two guards exchange a look.

Prisoner: It’s a religious commandment, you have to eat chocolate pudding at 8 am every morning.

The two guard fidget, then guard one leaves the room.

LATER

Guard one finishes spoon feeding the prisoner chocolate pudding.

Prisoner: Good pudding, but this also requires a cleansing ritual.

Guard One: what kind of ritual?

Prisoner: Nothing too onerous, you need to remove my shoes and socks and give me a foot massage while I sing Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Guard One: Seriously?

Prisoner: Just as serious as chocolate pudding.

Prisoner keeps making bizarre requests for items to be laid out in a pattern on the floor, other foods or any crazy thing.

The guards continue to age and are replaced by other people. The prisoner doesn’t age at all, having become a god himself, his words.