Neurologist

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How Do You See Yourself? Reflections on Therapeutic Mirroring

This wall of mirrors in the photo is in a local café. Each mirror hangs at a slightly different angle, and so captures a slightly different view of things – a different detail or a vignette of life unfolding around it.

It got me thinking about the nature of reflection, and what kind of mirror we might each be holding up to our lives in order to understand ourselves.

Reflection is a mainstay of many therapeutic modalities. Championed by Carl Rogers and the humanistic therapies, a reflective technique is thought to be able to reveal things to us – and about us – that we may not have been able to recognize so clearly alone.

So a therapist might reflect back a summary of things you’ve spoken about so you can hear them more clearly; or mirror a particular turn of phrase that might reveal something important for you; or even capture something in your tone of voice or posture that might hold clues to what you value.

Without this kind of reflection, some of these things may pass you by, swept up in your general stream of consciousness. In this way, accurate reflection has the capacity to salvage the gems from this flow; to “rescue the said from the saying of it,” as narrativetherapist Michael White once put it.

And “accurate” is a key part of this reflection business, for the truer a reflection can be, the more useful it is when it comes to understanding ourselves or our behaviour.

So what kind of mirror might you be holding up to yourself?

Is the surface you view yourself through neutral?
Dependable?
Clear?

Or is there a bit of damage or warping or some stains?

(And if so, then is it possible to really get a good view of who you are today? Or might you remain partly obscured to yourself by the patina of an aging looking glass?).

What size is the mirror in which you see yourself?
Is it a hand-mirror or full-length?

And where do you aim it – are you repeatedly drawn to looking only at your ‘flaws’?

What else might there be to see?

If you find that you often automatically judge yourself harshly and internally criticise your behaviours, your thoughts, or your ways of being in the world, then maybe it’s time to think about getting another angle on your mirror, or giving the glass a polish.

Maybe it’s time to investigate the accuracy of your mirror – the accuracy of your reflections on yourself.

You might be surprised at who you see…

http://blogs.psychcentral.com

September 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cancer-Fighting Foods: Facts and Fiction

The countless books and news articles about cancer-fighting foods might lead you to think you can ward off this dreaded disease simply by eating better.

Alas, it’s not that simple. Anytime you see a headline stating “Cure cancer naturally,” you should run. Running, in fact, will be more beneficial to your health than whatever that news article is pushing.

There are foods associated with a lower risk of getting cancer. While that’s positive news, remember that this is based merely on what goes on in Petri dishes and in mice and in human epidemiology studies revealing, largely in retrospect, that people who ate A, B and C for “x” years had a y-percent reduction in a cancer risk compared with a bunch of slackers who did nothing to stay healthy.

So, there are no guarantees. Consider that among the leading proponents of the macrobiotic diet — the grain- and vegetable-based diet purported to cure cancer — Aveline Kushi and her daughter Lilly died of cancer, Michio Kushi had a tumor removed from his intestine, and founder George Ohsawa died at the relatively young age of 73, likely of a heart attack.

Many causes of cancer are environmental, largely from tobacco, excessive sun exposure and workplace hazards such as chemical solvents and fumes. Avoidance is the best prevention strategy here.

Aside from that, if you want the odds on your side, the foods in this list do seem to carry some cancer-protection properties.

–Christopher Wanjek, LiveScience’s Bad Medicine Columnist

http://www.livescience.com

September 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Top 10 Pop Songs – Summer 2010

Summer 2010 was the summer of Katy Perry, Eminem, and men. Pop radio airwaves also welcomed some bright new voices. These are the 10 most successful pop songs based on chart performance for the summer of 2010.

1. Katy Perry – “California Gurls” featuring Snoop Dogg

Katy Perry - "California Gurls" featuring Snoop DoggCourtesy Capitol Records

Katy Perry has had the biggest summer pop song for two of the last three years now, and she is the only artist to appear in the top 10 of the summer for each of the last three years. Upon release, her web site proudly announced, “Summer starts now!” and that statement was correct.

oridawww.PhatPlanetStudios.com

2. B.o.B. – “Airplanes” featuring Hayley Williams

B.o.B.  featuring Hayley Williams - "Airplanes"Courtesy Atlantic Records

Rapper B.o.B. turned to a more serious tone for his powerful follow up to the #1 hit “Nothin’ On You.” While “Airplanes” never hit #1, it remained prominent on the radio throughout the summer.

3. Usher – “OMG” featuring will.i.am

Usher -  "OMG"Courtesy LaFace

Black Eyed Peas ruled the pop singles chart last summer, and this summer group member will.i.am made his presence known by helping Usher to a huge #1 hit in the spring that stuck around through much of the summer.

4. Travie McCoy – “Billionaire” featuring Bruno Mars

Travie  McCoy - "Billionaire" featuring Bruno MarsSingle cover courtesy Fueled By Ramen

The honey sweet voice of Bruno Mars played counterpoint to the raps of Gym Class Heroes’ Travie McCoy on his first solo single. The song seems to say it all for many of us, “I want to be a billionaire so f**king bad.”

5. Eminem – “Love the Way You Lie” featuring Rihanna

Eminem - "Love the Way You Lie" featuring RihannaCourtesy Interscope

Eminem proved the title of his album Recovery is accurate. He scored two consecutive #1 pop hit singles for the first time in his career. Rihanna’s voice on the chorus adds an additional note of authenticity to this intense song about domestic violence.

6. Mike Posner – “Cooler Than Me”

Mike Posner - "Cooler Than Me"Courtesy J Records

Just after college graduation Mike Posner blasted into the pop spotlight with this clever, sweet sounding song of mistreatment by the opposite sex. He is one of the top new artists of 2010

7. Drake – “Find Your Love”

Drake - "Find Your Love"Courtesy Young Money

Drake turns from rapping to singing here. He worked with Kanye West, one of his key inspirations, on songwriting and production. The accompanying music video ran afoul of government authorities in Jamaica for presenting a negative image of their country.

8. Eminem – “Not Afraid”

Eminem -  "Not Afraid"Courtesy Interscope

“Not Afraid” was Eminem’s first single from the Recovery album and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, it was soon eclipsed by the runaway success of “Love the Way You Lie.” However, “Not Afraid” stuck around inside the top 20 all summer long, and may rise again as “Love the Way You Lie” relinquishes its hold on the top of the charts.

9. Taio Cruz – “Dynamite”

Taio  Cruz - "Dynamite"Courtesy Island Records

Taio Cruz’ follow up to the #1 smash “Break Your Heart” uses the same production and songwriting team behind “California Gurls.” The result is another huge hit single.

10. Ke$ha – “Your Love Is My Drug”

Ke$ha  - "Your Love Is My Drug"Courtesy RCA

Ke$ha continued her streak of major hits with this singalong ditty. The lyrics may be cute or supremely annoying depending on your tolerance of cute, obsessive infatuation.

September 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Behind the Scenes of ‘Catfish’

Ariel  Schulman, Henry Joost and Nev Schulman discuss CatfishAriel Schulman, Henry Joost and Nev Schulman in ‘Catfish’

© Rogue Pictures

//

The less you know about the reality thriller Catfish before you see it, the better. And although some spoilers about the film have been removed from this Q&A with the guys behind Catfish, it’s really best to read on only A) after having seen the movie or b) if you’re not planning on ever seeing the movie, or C) if you’re one of those people who love to know everything about a film before buying a ticket.To play it safe, I’ll use the official synopsis put forth by Rogue Pictures in order to describe Catfish: “In late 2007, filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost sensed a story unfolding as they began to film the life of Ariel’s brother, Nev. They had no idea that their project would lead to the most exhilarating and unsettling months of their lives.”

In LA to support the release of Catfish, Ariel Schulman, Nev Schulman, and Henry Joost talked to reporters about the project which, no matter what the three say, will have some people believing 100% in what they see on the screen while others will be left questioning what’s true and what’s staged in this documentary.

On why people are suspicious:

Henry Joost: “I think that there has been a trend for a while of the mockumentary and also the fake documentary, which is kind of a different thing. The Cloverfield and Blair Witch Project type thing and then even more recently, those commercials that are trying to look like YouTube viral videos where something totally crazy happens and a visual effects company manipulates it. So I think people are trained now to be suspicious about what they see and wonder what the motives are behind it. So this question of whether the film is real or not never occurred to us while we were editing, because why would you ever suspect that something that actually happened to you, that people would be suspicious of something that actually happened to you? But when we started showing it at Sundance, that’s when we started getting questions from the audience.”

“When we were making the film, there were many times when we thought, ‘Wow, this is too good to be true in a lot of ways.’ Or, ‘I can’t believe that just happened the way that it did or that we captured that in the way that we did,’ but it really happened. That’s the truth.”

On when they realized they had a story to tell:

Henry Joost: “Well, Rel had the instinct to just start picking up little bits and pieces with Nev shortly after he got the first painting from Abby. Really, we didn’t have that much footage in kind of the first act of the film. We probably only had like an hour of footage and we kind of beefed it up with the online correspondence. Then when we discover the truth about [spoiler deleted] in Colorado, that’s when we turned to each other and said, ‘This is not just a little thing. This is a movie and this will have a story. We should not stop rolling for as long as it takes.'”

Did they ever get too freaked out and want to stop?:

Ariel Schulman: “Well, there was a lot of back and forth, a lot of give and take. There were moments where [Nev] wanted to stop and I pushed him to keep going. Then there was a very significant moment when I wanted to stop and he pushed me to keep going, and the same goes for Henry. Driving up to that horse farm at night, he was ready to just back in very casually and peel out.”

Henry Joost: “That still makes sense to me though.”

Ariel Schulman: “Nev said, ‘Turn the car around. We’re going in headfirst.’ I guess that’s just how we work as a group of friends that we just sort of keep pushing each other.”

Henry Joost: “We support each other. When somebody’s falling behind a little bit, the others pull him up.”

On becoming more wary of strangers on the internet:

Nev Schulman: “Basically I don’t meet people online. I never used to do that really anyway. This was sort of a very unique experience for me, but at this point now when I get requests from people who I’ve never actually met, I just sort of ignore them. Which sort of goes against my nature because this whole experience happened because I kind of just blindly threw myself into something unknowingly and said yes to something and went for it. Look what happened. Better or worse, it changed my life. I think for the better. I’m not someone who likes to be cautious or assume the worst. I’m sort of the opposite and it gets me in trouble, but it also gives me a story to tell and hopefully changes who I am a little bit for the better.”

On positioning Catfish as a thriller:

Henry Joost: “That is part of the movie. That’s, I think, the crux of the second act. What I like about it being marketed that way is just that it kind of has you looking in a different direction and expecting something, and the film ends up being a lot more than that.”

On striving to not exploit the characters:

Henry Joost: “Yeah, it was important to us that we had the consent of the subjects of the film on both sides and that that was okay. For us, in terms of telling the story and showing who the family really was, it was totally essential I think to show that, what you’re referring to. I don’t know how I say that without actually saying it. Because that’s key, I think, to understanding the motivation behind what’s going on.”

On watching the sexting scene at Sundance:

Nev Schulman: “I’m still really embarrassed about it. Not even embarrassed that people are seeing it, because that’s never so much something that I’ve had a problem with fortunately. Just that I wrote those things. They still seem so goofy and sort of contrived. Even though when I was doing them I was trying to really be honest and say what I felt, sometimes when you read that back, especially when you hear yourself reading it back, it’s just like, ‘Gee whiz, that was so goofy.'”

On people relating to the story:

Nev Schulman: “That’s sort of been the reward of putting myself out there in this film is that the response to that and the sort of opening of a valve that so many people want to talk about this stuff and have gone through experiences like this or have been too embarrassed to say that they’re also kind of not sure if they like Facebook. To identify with me as the figure of this movement towards whatever this is that we’re doing has been great. I enjoy it.”

On what Catfish says about the ability to create a new persona online:

Ariel Schulman: “I think it says that the internet and social networking is sort of a perfect distraction and fantasy for people to fill any empty space in their lives, whether it’s just to fill time and distract them from a real life situation that’s uncomfortable, a bad date or a boring dinner. Just hop on your phone and you’re on the internet and you’re surrounded by thousands of people. Or it can fill a much simpler void which is, ‘My life isn’t what I want it to be. I am not who I want to be. Let me create a better self, an avatar.’ Bam, five minutes later you’re up and going.”

On plans for the DVD:

Ariel Schulman: “Oh, the DVD is going to be chock full of bonus features. There are so many great deleted scenes, so much of the correspondence and the world that was created. Other characters on our side of the fence that were involved, none as deeply as Nev – but deeply.”

On what they learned as filmmakers through this experience:

Henry Joost: “You know, we have a commercial production company and we make commercials. When you’re making things like that, you spend a lot of time thinking about having everything look perfect and be perfect all the time, but this was really a lesson in if you have a good story and a compelling person to film, then you don’t have to worry about that stuff as much and you should really just let it go and just try to have it be a more pure experience. That was hugely liberating as a filmmaker to just say, ‘Let’s film this on whatever camera is closest. As long as we get the audio clear and the image that you need, then that’s fine.'”

September 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Behind the Scenes of ‘Catfish’

Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost and Nev Schulman discuss CatfishAriel Schulman, Henry Joost and Nev Schulman in ‘Catfish’

© Rogue Pictures

The less you know about the reality thriller Catfish before you see it, the better. And although some spoilers about the film have been removed from this Q&A with the guys behind Catfish, it’s really best to read on only A) after having seen the movie or b) if you’re not planning on ever seeing the movie, or C) if you’re one of those people who love to know everything about a film before buying a ticket.To play it safe, I’ll use the official synopsis put forth by Rogue Pictures in order to describe Catfish: “In late 2007, filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost sensed a story unfolding as they began to film the life of Ariel’s brother, Nev. They had no idea that their project would lead to the most exhilarating and unsettling months of their lives.”

In LA to support the release of Catfish, Ariel Schulman, Nev Schulman, and Henry Joost talked to reporters about the project which, no matter what the three say, will have some people believing 100% in what they see on the screen while others will be left questioning what’s true and what’s staged in this documentary.

On why people are suspicious:

Henry Joost: “I think that there has been a trend for a while of the mockumentary and also the fake documentary, which is kind of a different thing. The Cloverfield and Blair Witch Project type thing and then even more recently, those commercials that are trying to look like YouTube viral videos where something totally crazy happens and a visual effects company manipulates it. So I think people are trained now to be suspicious about what they see and wonder what the motives are behind it. So this question of whether the film is real or not never occurred to us while we were editing, because why would you ever suspect that something that actually happened to you, that people would be suspicious of something that actually happened to you? But when we started showing it at Sundance, that’s when we started getting questions from the audience.”

“When we were making the film, there were many times when we thought, ‘Wow, this is too good to be true in a lot of ways.’ Or, ‘I can’t believe that just happened the way that it did or that we captured that in the way that we did,’ but it really happened. That’s the truth.”

On when they realized they had a story to tell:

Henry Joost: “Well, Rel had the instinct to just start picking up little bits and pieces with Nev shortly after he got the first painting from Abby. Really, we didn’t have that much footage in kind of the first act of the film. We probably only had like an hour of footage and we kind of beefed it up with the online correspondence. Then when we discover the truth about [spoiler deleted] in Colorado, that’s when we turned to each other and said, ‘This is not just a little thing. This is a movie and this will have a story. We should not stop rolling for as long as it takes.'”

Did they ever get too freaked out and want to stop?:

Ariel Schulman: “Well, there was a lot of back and forth, a lot of give and take. There were moments where [Nev] wanted to stop and I pushed him to keep going. Then there was a very significant moment when I wanted to stop and he pushed me to keep going, and the same goes for Henry. Driving up to that horse farm at night, he was ready to just back in very casually and peel out.”

Henry Joost: “That still makes sense to me though.”

Ariel Schulman: “Nev said, ‘Turn the car around. We’re going in headfirst.’ I guess that’s just how we work as a group of friends that we just sort of keep pushing each other.”

Henry Joost: “We support each other. When somebody’s falling behind a little bit, the others pull him up.”

On becoming more wary of strangers on the internet:

Nev Schulman: “Basically I don’t meet people online. I never used to do that really anyway. This was sort of a very unique experience for me, but at this point now when I get requests from people who I’ve never actually met, I just sort of ignore them. Which sort of goes against my nature because this whole experience happened because I kind of just blindly threw myself into something unknowingly and said yes to something and went for it. Look what happened. Better or worse, it changed my life. I think for the better. I’m not someone who likes to be cautious or assume the worst. I’m sort of the opposite and it gets me in trouble, but it also gives me a story to tell and hopefully changes who I am a little bit for the better.”

On positioning Catfish as a thriller:

Henry Joost: “That is part of the movie. That’s, I think, the crux of the second act. What I like about it being marketed that way is just that it kind of has you looking in a different direction and expecting something, and the film ends up being a lot more than that.”

On striving to not exploit the characters:

Henry Joost: “Yeah, it was important to us that we had the consent of the subjects of the film on both sides and that that was okay. For us, in terms of telling the story and showing who the family really was, it was totally essential I think to show that, what you’re referring to. I don’t know how I say that without actually saying it. Because that’s key, I think, to understanding the motivation behind what’s going on.”

On watching the sexting scene at Sundance:

Nev Schulman: “I’m still really embarrassed about it. Not even embarrassed that people are seeing it, because that’s never so much something that I’ve had a problem with fortunately. Just that I wrote those things. They still seem so goofy and sort of contrived. Even though when I was doing them I was trying to really be honest and say what I felt, sometimes when you read that back, especially when you hear yourself reading it back, it’s just like, ‘Gee whiz, that was so goofy.'”

On people relating to the story:

Nev Schulman: “That’s sort of been the reward of putting myself out there in this film is that the response to that and the sort of opening of a valve that so many people want to talk about this stuff and have gone through experiences like this or have been too embarrassed to say that they’re also kind of not sure if they like Facebook. To identify with me as the figure of this movement towards whatever this is that we’re doing has been great. I enjoy it.”

On what Catfish says about the ability to create a new persona online:

Ariel Schulman: “I think it says that the internet and social networking is sort of a perfect distraction and fantasy for people to fill any empty space in their lives, whether it’s just to fill time and distract them from a real life situation that’s uncomfortable, a bad date or a boring dinner. Just hop on your phone and you’re on the internet and you’re surrounded by thousands of people. Or it can fill a much simpler void which is, ‘My life isn’t what I want it to be. I am not who I want to be. Let me create a better self, an avatar.’ Bam, five minutes later you’re up and going.”

On plans for the DVD:

Ariel Schulman: “Oh, the DVD is going to be chock full of bonus features. There are so many great deleted scenes, so much of the correspondence and the world that was created. Other characters on our side of the fence that were involved, none as deeply as Nev – but deeply.”

On what they learned as filmmakers through this experience:

Henry Joost: “You know, we have a commercial production company and we make commercials. When you’re making things like that, you spend a lot of time thinking about having everything look perfect and be perfect all the time, but this was really a lesson in if you have a good story and a compelling person to film, then you don’t have to worry about that stuff as much and you should really just let it go and just try to have it be a more pure experience. That was hugely liberating as a filmmaker to just say, ‘Let’s film this on whatever camera is closest. As long as we get the audio clear and the image that you need, then that’s fine.'”

September 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Emma Stone Discusses ‘Easy A’

Emma Stone photo from Easy AEmma Stone in ‘Easy A.’

© Screen Gems

Emma Stone (Zombieland, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past) stars as Olive, a high school student whose made up story about losing her virginity takes on a life of its own, in the PG-13-rated comedy Easy A. Olive’s a smart young woman, more mature than most of her peers, who finds her life paralleling the main character in the book she’s studying in English class, The Scarlett Letter. Going along with the lie, Olive uses her undeserved reputation as being easy to alter her social life and to help out some of her school’s less-than-appealing-to-the-opposite-sex students increase their own social standing among the student body.At the LA press day for the Screen Gems comedy, Stone talked about the appeal of playing Olive. “I just kind of immediately responded to her,” explained Stone when asked why she was so interested in tackling the role. “I just liked the way she approached things. It felt honest to me and I could relate to her in a lot of ways.”

Stone’s interest in acting made home-schooling a better option, so she couldn’t fully relate to Olive’s public high school experience. But the 21 year old actress could relate to Olive personality-wise. “I felt I understood the way she thought and I wanted to try to do her justice. She was so fleshed out on the page I felt like I knew exactly who she was in the script, whereas a lot of times you can read a character and take it a million different ways.”

Olive’s good intentions – she helps a few nerds and a gay schoolmate out by pretending to have had intimate encounters with them – were also part of the appeal of Easy A for Emma Stone. “I loved that. I thought it was kind of great. That lie really spirals out of control. But she’s a bold girl, she’s not a delicate little thing so wounded by all these rumors. The poster where I’m biting the lips seems like a false representation of how Olive feels about the whole situation.”

“Her intentions are to protect her friends, although I don’t think I could perpetuate a lie the way that she does,” explained Stone. “I would be much too anxious all the time trying to live a double life.”

Handling the Lead in Easy A

Stone faced a lot of challenges when working on Easy A including singing along with an annoying song (Pocketful of Sunshine), delivering monologues to the computer, and wearing a sexy outfit and doing a provocative song and dance number. But none of those put as much pressure on Stone as she did on herself. “I didn’t realize I was like that until I realized I was like that. Thought I was more laid back. I’m not. Everyone were so nice, in terms of the crew and, well, Will [Gluck] gives me sh*t all the time, but that’s kind of our relationship, which is fantastic because he keeps me on my toes. But I became very micromanage-y, which is funny I didn’t know that I was that way. Very regimented: it was important to know what I was doing the next day, and my sleep schedule, and my clothes laid out. It was like, ‘Who am I?’ I was turning into my parents. But it was such a great learning experience and it taught me endurance and focus.”Being in nearly every single frame of the film wasn’t as daunting to Stone as just making sure she did right by the character. “I think it was less the size of the role and more the wanting to do her justice. It was about the part, you know? I loved the character so much and I felt so protective of her that doing it wrong or misstepping or making her seem…because you could dislike her if it was done wrong. She’s not an unlikable character, and I worried about that all the time – sounding snide, or being too bitchy, or coming across too sarcastic.”

Stone added, “The nice thing about Olive was she felt the same way about it that I probably felt doing it. If I had to dress up in a bustier and play a character that feels confident and sexy in a bustier, they wouldn’t have cast me because I’m the wrong girl. But Olive is playing such a part and feels so ridiculous in it, but she just decides to do it. ‘Why not?’ And that was kind of what I felt too, so that was nice. We kind of felt similarly.”

Asked how difficult it was to make Olive sexy without being inappropriate, Stone replied. “Well, it was me playing it so I knew it wasn’t going to go too over-the-top, sex-kittenish. There’s always going to be an element of, ‘Uhhh…,’ that’s kind of a little goofy, even when I try to not make it that way. That is my burden.”

Easy A‘s Supporting Players and Pop Culture References

Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson play Olive’s parents, and they’re not the typical teen comedy parents at all. These parents are straight-talkers, affectionate with each other, very supportive of Olive and her adopted brother, and willing to have adult conversations with their teenage daughter that aren’t Hollywood-ish in tone.”My parents are actually miraculously not too far off from those parent characters, which I know seem wildly open and free spirited and liberal,” said Stone. “My parents probably aren’t as liberal as them, but they have always had very open, honest communication, so that was actually very cool. And Patty, the way she was playing that mom reminded me of my mom in too many ways. So yeah, there were things to draw from.”

And speaking of things to draw from, fans of John Hughes’ films (Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller, The Breakfast Club…) should love all of the references to his movies in Easy A. “We’re launching a tribute to John Hughes,” explained Stone. “Definitely not claiming to be a new John Hughes movie or match anything that he did because what he did was so wonderful.”

So does Stone think kids are more sophisticated now than when Hughes’ popular films first hit theaters in the 1980s? “I don’t know, they were pretty sophisticated then too,” replied Stone. “Ferris Bueller’s a pretty complicated guy. He’s got that paint program on his computer with the naked girl. He asked for a car; he got a computer. I think what I appreciate about this movie and about Will’s real goal in this movie and [writer Bert V Royal’s] goal in this movie was to pay tribute to John Hughes, not just actually – and Cameron Crowe – by talking about how wonderful those movies are, but also by trying not to speak down to teenagers, which is what John Hughes did best. He was so empathetic and told the story through their eyes and could remember what it was like clearly and didn’t make their problems seem smaller just because he was an adult and knew that they weren’t as big a deal as he got older. And I think that was a big goal for Will, through Olive’s eyes, was not to diminish how she was feeling just because it was a temporary teenage situation.”

As for working with director Will Gluck, Stone said they have a very interesting relationship. It helped that Gluck’s like a male version of a 30-something Olive. “If you saw the two of us together right now, you’d want to brandish a weapon because we’re like, ‘Shut up, you shut up. Aaaah ahhh ahh.’ We just bicker constantly and that’s our relationship. So it’s like two Olives making a movie about Olive,” joked Stone.

“We both really loved the character and wanted to stay true to her story, and let her heart come through and her intentions come through. So, that balance, we were very interested in maintaining that balance and we talked about it a lot. It was very important.”

And finally, what lesson does Stone think Easy A has for teens? “I think one of the greatest things about it is there’s multiple. Without being pandering or talking down to anyone, which is what I liked about the script, it touches on extremism, with the Cross-Your-Heart Club so extremely one way, and Olive taking this girl, taking this character version of herself to this really extreme level. And it touches on judging a book by its cover, no matter how true it may seem. And the speed of technology and how quickly things can be communicated or miscommunicated.”

* * * * *

Easy A is rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements involving teen sexuality, language and some drug material and hits theaters September 17, 2010.

September 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Health Benefits of Maitake

Maitake is a type of medicinal mushroom said to offer a wide range of health benefits. For instance, maitake is often used to boost theimmune system and, in turn, fight off cancer and certain infections (such as hepatitis and HIV). Maitake is also touted as a natural remedy for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. In addition, maitake is sometimes marketed for its supposed benefits as a weight-loss aid.

The Science Behind Maitake’s Health Benefits

In lab research, scientists have found that maitake contains beta-glucan (a substance shown to stimulate the immune system). By spurring activity in immune cells (such as natural killer cells and T-cells), beta-glucan is thought to help combat cancer. However, researchers have yet to demonstrate that maitake offers any cancer-fighting benefits for humans.

Here’s a look at maitake’s other potential health benefits:

1) High Blood Pressure

Maitake may help lower blood pressure, according to animal-based research. For instance, a 2010 study on rats found that maitake helped protect against high blood pressure (in addition to enhancing insulin sensitivity and curbing some aspects of inflammation).

2) Diabetes

Some animal studies suggest that maitake may defend against diabetes. In two reports published in 2002, for example, maitake was found to reduce insulin resistance in rats. A health condition known to raise your risk of type 2 diabetes (as well as heart disease), insulin resistance occurs when the body fails to respond properly to insulin (a hormone that plays a key role in using blood sugar for energy).

Is Maitake Safe?

Available in capsules, liquid extracts, and teas, maitake is generally considered safe. However, there’s some evidence that maitake may interact with certain medicines (such as hypoglycemic medications and blood-thinning drugs).

Should You Use Maitake for Health Purposes?

If you’re considering the use of maitake supplements, make sure to consult your physician before starting your supplement regimen. Given the lack of science behind maitake’s health benefits, the mushroom cannot currently be recommended for treatment or prevention of any health condition.

Sources:

Mayell M. “Maitake extracts and their therapeutic potential.” Altern Med Rev. 2001 Feb;6(1):48-60.

Preuss HG, Echard B, Bagchi D, Perricone NV. “Maitake mushroom extracts ameliorate progressive hypertension and other chronic metabolic perturbations in aging female rats.” Int J Med Sci. 2010 Jun 7;7(4):169-80.

Talpur N, Echard B, Dadgar A, Aggarwal S, Zhuang C, Bagchi D, Preuss HG. “Effects of Maitake mushroom fractions on blood pressure of Zucker fatty rats.” Res Commun Mol Pathol Pharmacol. 2002;112(1-4):68-82.

Talpur NA, Echard BW, Fan AY, Jaffari O, Bagchi D, Preuss HG. “Antihypertensive and metabolic effects of whole Maitake mushroom powder and its fractions in two rat strains.” Mol Cell Biochem. 2002 Aug;237(1-2):129-36.

Ulbricht C, Weissner W, Basch E, Giese N, Hammerness P, Rusie-Seamon E, Varghese M, Woods J. “Maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa): systematic review by the natural standard research collaboration.” J Soc Integr Oncol. 2009 Spring;7(2):66-72.

September 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Aromatherapy for Sleep

If you’re dealing with insomnia or other sleep problems, aromatherapy may offer some relief. Preliminary research shows that certain essential oils may help promote relaxation and, in turn, encourage sounder sleep. While scientists have yet to determine how or why aromatherapy might help alleviate sleep problems, it’s thought that inhaling essential oil molecules (or absorbing essential oils through the skin) may influence brain chemicals involved in controlling sleep.

The Science Behind Aromatherapy and Sleep

To date, there is very limited scientific support for aromatherapy’s effects on sleep. However, early research shows that lavender essential oil may be of some benefit when it comes to easing sleep problems. For instance, a 2006 study of 42 women with insomnia found that four weeks of treatment with lavender aromatherapy helped relieve insomnia (in addition to reducing symptoms of depression). A 2005 study of 31 healthy sleepers, meanwhile, showed that lavender aromatherapy promoted deeper sleep (most likely due to lavender’s mild sedative effects). And in a 2008 study of infants, researchers found that adding lavender-enriched oil to the bath helped increase participants’ sleep time.

Chamomile and ylang-ylang essential oils also appear to improve sleep, according to a 2005 review of medicinal plants for insomnia.

Should You Use Aromatherapy for Sleep Problems?

Although aromatherapy is generally considered safe, some individuals may experience irritation when applying essential oils to the skin. Since essential oils are extremely potent, you should always take caution when using aromatherapy. To start, make sure to blend your essential oil with a carrier oil (such as jojoba or sweet almond oil) before applying it to the skin. Furthermore, essential oils should never be taken internally without the supervision of a health professional.

Learn more about using essential oils safely, and talk to your doctor if you’re considering the use of aromatherapy in treatment of a sleep disorder.

How to Use Aromatherapy for Sleep Problems

There are many ways to use essential oils to ease your sleep problems. One approach is to massage your neck, shoulders, and any other areas with a relaxing essential oil blend. You could also shake three or four drops of a sleep-promoting essential oil onto your pillow just before you’re going to sleep, or unwind with an essential-oil-enhanced bath before bedtime.

Sources:

Field T, Field T, Cullen C, Largie S, Diego M, Schanberg S, Kuhn C. “Lavender bath oil reduces stress and crying and enhances sleep in very young infants.” Early Hum Dev. 2008 Jun;84(6):399-401.

Goel N, Kim H, Lao RP. “An olfactory stimulus modifies nighttime sleep in young men and women.” Chronobiol Int. 2005;22(5):889-904.

Lee IS, Lee GJ. “Effects of lavender aromatherapy on insomnia and depression in women college students.” Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2006 Feb;36(1):136-43.

Lewith GT, Godfrey AD, Prescott P. “A single-blinded, randomized pilot study evaluating the aroma of Lavandula augustifolia as a treatment for mild insomnia.” J Altern Complement Med. 2005 Aug;11(4):631-7.

Linck VM, da Silva AL, Figueiró M, Piato AL, Herrmann AP, Dupont Birck F, Caramão EB, Nunes DS, Moreno PR, Elisabetsky E. Inhaled linalool-induced sedation in mice. Phytomedicine. 2009 Apr;16(4):303-7.

Wheatley D. “Medicinal plants for insomnia: a review of their pharmacology, efficacy and tolerability.” J Psychopharmacol. 2005 Jul;19(4):414-21.

September 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Best Books About Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan has always been one of the most perplexing artists of our age – a guitar-slinging cryptogram as elusive as the meaning of his finest songs. And the best doorway into Dylan has always been a good, solid book. From standard music biographies to books hamming him up as a cultural messiah, there are dozens of volumes aimed at cracking Dylan’s impenetrable shroud of obscurity. Sweeping the bulk aside, though, what follows are the crème of what’s out there, geared for anyone from the new fan to the seasoned aficionado.

1. Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus: Writings 1968-2010, by Greil Marcus (2010)

PublicAffairs

Wrote Greil Marcus in 1978: “Who is this man? you ask. Where did he come from? He’s a visitation, not a singer.” No other American writer has followed Dylan as closely, extensively, and for as long as Marcus, whose forthcoming (Oct. 26) anthology contains his finest Dylan writing covering four decades, including reviews and essays written for Rolling Stone, Creem, the Village Voice, and the New York Times. With his thoughtful style anchored in personal reflections and rich analysis, Marcus peels back the layers, revealing Dylan at critical junctures of an ever-evolving career.

2. Bob Dylan in America, by Sean Wilentz (2010)

Doubleday

With all the media hype, you’d think they just released Dylan’s Dead Sea Scrolls. While a book putting Dylan in the context of American cultural history—his influences and legacy—is one that needed written, Wilentz hasn’t necessarily delivered it. The book is disjointed, and the author connects Dylan to purported key influences with the vaguest of threads. However, there are moments of greatness throughout (along with the very real danger of slipping into a morass of nostalgia). Giving readers a fresh frame of reference, Wilentz’s examination of Dylan as a torch-bearer of the Beat Generation is especially thorough. Overall, excellent reading. But not necessarily the book Wilentz was trying to write.

3. Positively 4th Street, by David Hajdu (2001)

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

More than Dylan’s lover, Joan Baez was also his biggest promoter. As the author points out, when he was still unknown, a smitten Joan would bring Dylan onstage for duets, even sacrificing her time slots for him to showcase his music. Without the Queen of Folk’s initial support, Hadju hints, Dylan may have likely never enjoyed his early rise to success. Also explored is the underplayed story of Mimi Fariña (Baez’s sister) and her husband Richard, author of Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me. Prominent folk musicians in their own right, the Fariñas were on the fast track to fame when Richard died in a motorcycle crash just after this debut novel was published. One of the most important, obscure chapters in Beat and folk revival history.

4. Revolution in the Air: The Songs of Bob Dylan, 1957-73, by Clinton Heylin (2009)

Chicago Review Press

Heylin is the go-to guy on all matters Dylan, and he’s carved out a fine career focusing on one man and his music. Revolution in the Air is the first volume in a two-part encyclopedia-style series that examines the first half of Dylan’s massive 600-plus song catalog. A mammoth undertaking, Heylin’s book is as biographical as it is analytical, and a necessary companion for any serious fan who wants to understand Dylan’s songs more than skin deep. The just-released Still on the Road: The Songs of Bob Dylan, 1974-2006 (2010) is the sequel covering the second half of Dylan’s song catalog, the combined books totaling 1,000-plus pages of pure unadulterated Dylan.

5. Shelter from the Storm: Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Years, by Sid Griffin (2010)

Jawbone Press

The author of Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, The Band, and the Basement Tapes now takes on the cumulative peak of Dylan’s long journey home: the 1975-76 Rolling Thunder Revue. With a cast of characters that included Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Bobby Neuwirth, Jacques Levy, poet Allen Ginsberg, playwright Sam Shepard, Rolling Stone magazine’s Larry Sloman, et alia, Dylan’s gypsy road show was one of those seminal 1970s events that defined an age. Beginning in Greenwich Village in 1975, Griffin chronicles the tour from inception to finale, leaping from bus to stage, state to state, while fully exploring Dylan’s rarely seen four-hour film spawned from the tour, Renaldo and Clara.

September 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Men look at bodies, not faces, when picking date

Christina Hendricks arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit celebrating the opening of American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity in New York May 3, 2010

Men opt for curvy women, such as Mad Men actress Christina Hendricks, when picking a short-term partner Photo: REUTERS

Scientists have discovered that men, when deciding on who to date, really do made a decision based on a woman’s curvy body, not her face, let alone her wit or brains.

A study by the University of Texas at Austin has confirmed suspicions that men are only interested in a woman’s body in a short-term relationship.

Women, on the other hand, appear to be open-minded when choosing a partner.

Scientists found that men will only study a woman’s face if they are looking for a wife, rather than a short-term partner.

The study in the Evolution and Human Behaviourscience journal looked at the reactions of 375 men and women who were asked to consider dating a member of the opposite sex who face or body had been obscured.

Volunteers were asked whether they would choose either the member of the opposite sex with a pretty face or a curvy body.

The tests showed that men were much more likely to choose someone with a curvy body for a date, while they might opt for a pretty face for a longer-term relationship.

The report said: “Results revealed men removed the body box more frequently in the short-term mating condition than in the long-term mating condition, suggesting men have a condition-dependent tendency to prioritise facial cues in long-term mating contexts, but shift their priorities to bodily cues in short-term mating contexts.

“Both the body and face can provide cues as to a woman’s reproductive value and current fertility, but this study revealed men go for bodily cues more when looking for a short-term mate.”

The authors said previous studies of physical attractiveness have emphasised features that make faces and bodies attractive, such as symmetry, skin texture, and waist-to-hip ratio.

However, few have looked at the reproductively relevant cues conveyed by faces and bodies as whole units.

Based on the theory that fertility cues are more readily assessed from a woman’s body than her face, the Texas study tested the hypothesis that men evaluating a potential short-term mate would give higher priority to information gleaned from her body, relative to her face, than men evaluating a potential long-term mate.

Women assigned to the short-term and long-term mating conditions all gave greater priority to information obtained from an opposite sex individual’s face

The results support the hypothesis that men are attracted to women’s bodies in short-term mating contexts, such as a pub, bar or nightclub.

In contrast, women’s relative preferences were unaffected by mating condition, suggesting that women consistently prioritise facial cues over bodily cues.

The authors believe that a woman’s face provides relatively richer information regarding her reproductive value and conversely, that a woman’s body conveys stronger cues to her current fertility.

These two dimensions peak at different ages, meaning there is unlikely to be a woman who is simultaneously at the pinnacle of reproductive value and fertility. In human populations, reproductive value peaks around age 17, whereas fertility peaks around age 24.

The study shows that for men, but not for women, priority shifting takes place based on the pursuit of short-term and long-term mating strategies.

September 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment