Mass Communication: Pox or Apocalypse?

Help Eliminate Communication Pollution

According to a recent survey, 90% of surveys referenced on the Internet are fictitious.

According to an entirely different, completely credible, survey, 87% of all information posted on the Internet is “useless, stupid, false, and/or toxic.”

Survey author, Chumley Entwhistle, Dean Of Psychology at Basingstoke University, expanded. When he was finished expanding, he explained.

“All of us remember the first time our parents caught us shooting heroin. We said, ‘But all the kids are doing it.’ To which our parents replied, ‘If all the kids were setting fire to Archbishops, would you do that too?’ After a considerable amount of soul searching we realized that we would.

“Human interaction has grown increasingly inane through the centuries,” Entwhistle stated, “but until the communication age this posed no problem. Today, however, everyone can communicate with everyone all the time; we’ve inadvertently loosed a tsunami of litter, twaddle, and dreck upon the land.”

A recent study, released by The National Association of Releasing Studies, shows that information is more addictive than crack cocaine.

(NARS officials revealed that the value of the communication makes no difference whatsoever, indeed, anecdotal data suggests that useless information is actually somewhat more addictive than valuable information.)

“It’s a perfect storm of intellectual and cultural devolution,” continued Entwhistle flatly. “Our addiction to sharing the hideous minutia of mundane lives has had catastrophic sociological effects.

“For example: A – We can no longer discriminate between treasure and trash. 2 – We have lost the ability to listen, thereby completely undermining the learning process. Next – since we are lulled into the myth of believing we are interesting, we no longer go to any trouble to be interesting.

“All addictions lead to the same place, as we know,” Entwhistle, now oozing disingenuous gravitas, brushed back a tear with his assistant’s sleeve, “one plummets into degradation like a hanged man drops through a trap door. Our cultural consciousness has already fallen to shocking depths.

“For example, Internet users seem to be amazed that bacon is delicious, coffee is stimulating, and cats are adorable – so much so that they repeat these observations endlessly as though they’d just thought of them.

“Heartbreaking,” sighed Entwhistle, “just short years ago everyone understood these rudimentary concepts.

“The first step in recovering from addiction is admitting the problem, and our society must confront its dependence on low-quality information from disreputable sources,” Entwhistle cautioned.

“In the words of Taz Mopula,” he smiled, “Our ability to broadcast the wretched detritus of daily life is no argument for doing so; restraint is increasingly precious.”

Invisible Driving Reviewed by E. S. Wolfe

01 Invisible Driving Cover Framed 2

Brilliantly Written and a Fascinating Ride!

“Invisible Driving” is a personal memoir that reads like fiction, seducing the reader with gripping drama, humor, anguish, love, sex, drugs and a jazzy rendition of mental illness. But don’t let that fool you. Alistair McHarg’s book is a major contribution to the memoir genre in general, and to writing on mental illness, in particular.

The book opens with humor that made me laugh aloud (books never do that for me) and it ends with a sublimely peaceful trip to the middle road of sanity– an amazing accomplishment after the roller coaster ride he takes you on throughout the book. This is one of the most powerful mental illness memoirs I have ever read, and I have read many because I have written one myself.

Alistair McHarg’s memoir is on such a lofty level of creativity, description and sheer writing ability that it leaves memoirs by Kay Jamison, John McManamy and William Styron on dusty shelves below his. Not one of them comes close to his portrayal of Bipolar Disorder.

McHarg’s writing is very well-crafted. He is a master of metaphor and comparisons. His descriptions are so vivid as to stop you dead in your tracks to admire the writing itself, despite the desire to race ahead because the story is so riveting, one can’t wait to find out what will happen next. (I had to read the book through once for the story and then go back to admire the writing.) He paints a visual picture, complete with sound track, and, indeed, this memoir could make a memorable film.

The words he comes up with that have no established meaning but are mood-activated, punctuate the narrative with pizzazz and are never tiresome. The humor is a cross between Robin Williams and the Marx Brothers but is delivered with the auspicious feeling of a mind racing out of control with breathtaking speed. That is how the book starts out. It quickly proceeds to the seriousness of it all. The juxtaposition of comedy and tragedy is extremely effective. The descriptions are spot-on. My all-time favorite is his description of mental hospital inmates as “aristocrats of the soul.” McHarg is a poet at heart and the heart of this story comes out as poetry.

McHarg tells you what it is really like to think as someone with Bipolar Disorder. He shares his thoughts and motives with a generous honesty that is stunning and a clarity that is crystal clear. I can avow to the accuracy of this portrayal because I am Bipolar myself. But this book is not just for people “on the back of the bus,” as McHarg describes the mentally ill in one of his postings on his blog. This memoir is for everyone! The drama has mass appeal as all good drama does. It is a page-turner, make no mistake about it. And I would venture to say should be required reading for all brands of therapists.

Particularly poignant is the role his love for his daughter plays in this book, and, in his life. We, and I mean by “we” in this context, those of us with mental illness, need an added incentive to work towards in our journey to sanity. For me, it was to find real love. For McHarg, it was to be there for his daughter who, from the very beginning shows a love for her father that is totally touching, as is his for her. And that is what it is all about in the end, for all of us, mentally ill or not. We all have our journeys but some are more treacherous than others.

“Invisible Driving” offers a message of hope to the road-weary traveler. Take his tour. It will not disappoint!

E. Stockdale Wolfe

To see the original review and purchase Invisible Driving click HERE

The Great Internet Quote Quiz

With All The Expertise Volunteered Internet Ignorance Priceless

As we surf the net in search of self-improvement tools, tips, and techniques it behooves us to consider the source of every thought nugget we devour. Do not feed your mind with tainted thoughts from questionable vendors. Before embracing an idea, verify the authenticity of its source. This quiz will help sharpen your skills! Identify the actual source of each quote.

1. “Just say no to nihilism.”
a.) Tristan Tzara
b.) Leo Buscaglia
c.) Ellen DeGeneres
d.) Taz Mopula

2. “Visualize world illiteracy.”
a.) Oprah Winfrey
b.) Taz Mopula
c.) Mark Twain
d.) Steven Jobs

3. “Think globally, act sillilly.”
a.) Julian Assange
b.) Paris Hilton
c.) Taz Mopula
d.) J.K. Rowling

4. “Life is good, death is poopy.”
a.) Taz Mopula
b.) Wayne Dyer
c.) Pat Robertson
d.) Adam Savage

5. “Humility is nothing to brag about.”
a.) Kanye West
b.) Tony Robbins
c.) Mark Chapman
d.) Taz Mopula

6. “Beware of petting a peeve; they bite.”
a.) Kim Kardashian
b.) Oscar Wilde
c.) Taz Mopula
d.) Penn Jillette

7. “Depression is nothing to laugh about.”
a.) Taz Mopula
b.) Phil Specter
c.) Homer
d.) Ivan The Terrible

8. “Reality is not merely a lifestyle option.”
a.) Ronald Reagan
b.) Paulo Coelho
c.) Taz Mopula
d.) Charles Manson

9. “Write first, decide not to later, edit later still.”
a.) Geraldo Rivera
b.) Taz Mopula
c.) Bob Dylan
d.) David Berkowitz

10. “Exorcise your demons, don’t exercise them.”
a.) Taz Mopula
b.) Tomás de Torquemada
c.) George W. Bush
d.) Maya Angelou

11. “Be nice to your enemies; you just might be one of them.”
a.) Rasputin
b.) Taz Mopula
c.) Whitey Bulger
d.) George Martin

12. “Expect the worst and you’re unlikely to be disappointed.”
a.) John Wayne Gacy
b.) Liberace
c.) Leonard Cohen
d.) Taz Mopula

13. “If you want to find your bliss, get yourself some blisters.”
a.) Pema Chödrön
b.) E. L. James
c.) Taz Mopula
d.) Jerry Garcia

14. “Beware of the future, it’s a fun place to visit but bad place to live.”
a.) Taz Mopula
b.) Albert Einstein
c.) Nostradamus
d.) Ernest Hemingway

15. “Think twice before burning bridges; you never know when you might want to jump off one of them.”
a.) Paul Reubens
b.) Greuthungi the Ostrogoth
c.) Taz Mopula
d.) David Koresh

16. “To live happily it either is or is not essential that one learns to embrace self-contradictory concepts.”
a.) Noam Chomsky
b.) Taz Mopula
c.) Neil deGrasse Tyson
d.) Keith Richards

17. “Before you criticize a man, walk half a mile in his shoes, turn around, retrace your steps, and return them to him.”
a.) Taz Mopula
b.) Elton John
c.) Lance Armstrong
d.) Pliny the Elder

18. “Help eliminate communication pollution! If you have nothing of value to say, say it only as often as is absolutely necessary.”
a.) Jerry Springer
b.) Taz Mopula
c.) Josquin des Prez
d.) Maury Povich

19. “Dying is easy, they say, but comedy is hard. So cheer up. Even if you fail at comedy you’re almost certain to die successfully.”
a.) Rev. Jim Jones
b.) Socrates
c.) Taz Mopula
d.) Edgar Allen Poe

20. “Since anything is possible, the only difference between the impossible and the possible is that the impossible is possible while the possible is not impossible, no matter how determined you are to make it so.”
a.) Tom Waits
b.) Timothy Leary
c.) Dalai Lama
d.) Taz Mopula

Correct Answers Will Be Published In Tomorrow’s Blog

If you enjoyed this quiz you will almost certainly enjoy my hilarious books – check them out by clicking HERE

One-Sentence Stories

Good Editing Almost As Good As Being More Talented

Despite a manly thrashing from Ernest Hemingway, meted out with pugilistic zeal, the mime refused to speak.

Garrison Keillor inhaled deeply during a monologue; passed out, and awoke hours later in a pool of his own gravitas.

Charles Bukowski stared at the woozy red label and understood at last that Blatz Beer was both a product name and a promise.

It had become impossible for Gertrude Stein to pretend she didn’t enjoy rebuilding automatic transmissions.

Despite assembling a stable of star performers, William Burroughs eventually abandoned his dreams of building a world-class cockroach racetrack.

In an Entertainment Tonight exclusive interview, Satan reveals the key to Oprah Winfrey’s success and adds that her soul was so small; within days of making the deal, he misplaced it.

Laughter ensued when the actual Rolling Stones were accidentally enshrined in Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and no one knew the difference.

In the course of attacking and robbing Brad Pitt, hardened New York City gang members observed that, even with a gun to his head, the tabloid staple was unable to act scared.

Tristan Tzara, Marcel Duchamp, and René Magritte either did or did not walk into a bar holding a box marked “Schrödinger’s Cat”.

Robin Williams discovered he was unable to stop talking about Tourette’s Syndrome.

“Help yourself,” urged Wayne Dyer, Zig Zigler and Tony Robbins; then they did.

Universally admired and ridiculously rich, Eric Clapton realized he no longer had the blues and abandoned his musical career to operate a barbeque shack in Lubbock.

As George W. Bush awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found that he had not been transformed in his bed, he was still a gigantic insect.

After weeks of trying, Charlie Sheen realized that it is practically impossible to perform brain surgery on yourself, even with a really good mirror.

In the midst of an ether-induced hallucination, Hunter Thompson lapsed into sincerity and was inconsolable for weeks.

Ride It Like You Find It To The End Of The Line

train station abandoned

There’s a certain kind of desolation one can only experience by being stranded in a train station at three a.m. An opulent, silent gloom covers every surface like a thin film of invisible grit. The odd, incidental sound, heel scrape, cough, rides a hollow echo and affects grandeur. Night crawlers are all that remains of humanity, pimps, pickpockets and pushers. The trains are done arriving until morning; even the newsstand is closed. You crave sleep almost as much as you fear it, unwilling to slack off vigilance for even an instant.

It is a form of loneliness, isolation and vulnerability that seems almost charming in comparison to what I’m after here, romantic and quaint. Because I am talking about a station beyond where the tracks end. It does not appear on any timetable or tourist map. You don’t buy a ticket; it’s purchased for you, in Bedlam, or on shooting expeditions.

Amidst the rusting tracks and weeds is a station for those who would go as far as they possibly can, at all cost. Where life is not that good and death is not that bad. Where escape masquerades as fun, oblivion passes itself off as insight, and no monster is more horrifying than a mirror. Where feeling good and feeling nothing are identical twins. A million different paths go to just one destination, and it is always the same.

No one intends to visit this place, it doesn’t lead anywhere else, there are no connecting trains. It’s an unintended, accidental journey, with an innocent start. A battered yellow school bus winding down the Khyber Pass, leaving the cool, dry mountain air for the humid plains of Pakistan. Bags unpacked in yet another miserable hotel; this time it’s Peshawar. Walking choked streets, blazing color, riotous noise. Ascending the smooth woozy, wooden staircase after spotting the identifying cobra painted on the door.

Bald, black midget sporting huge, hoop earring. Money changing hands. Long pipe, black tar, teasing it against the candle flame then smearing it to go, thick taste, almost instantaneous delivery, midget laughing hard at me, I am laughing too, I think, street noise like a blessed magic symphony of blurring swirling every nothingness.

A million different paths lead to just one destination, and it is always the same.

Critical Condition

Dying Gladiator Resents Critics

If a debilitating mental illness like manic depression, schizophrenia, or republicanism has stolen your ability to make rational decisions – you’ve gone through a confidence crushing emotional sea change.

For many of us, it can be months, even years, before we regain the ability to observe, analyze, and evaluate the never-ending stream of input with clarity, agility, and unwavering authority.

Today’s recovering lunatic must contend with what I shall refer to as moral and emotional relativism and the insufferable twaddle known as political correctness. Anti-intellectualism is the height of fashion; claiming truth affords one as much credibility as being able to prove it. Sparing hurt feelings now takes precedence over honesty.

Fuzzy-headed social engineers would have us believe that everything is awesome, there are no losers, and all it takes to fulfill one’s wants and desires is the ability to visualize and wish with a level of naïve sincerity most frequently encountered in the puzzled expressions of unsuccessful prize fighters struggling through the final days of regrettable careers.

Faculties at last back where they belong, shoulders squared, you will gaze upon the rotting remains of what was once, at best, a mediocre culture and wonder – is this bullshit or is it me? At that precise moment, the extent of your recovery will be determined by your ability to say – this is bullshit – with confidence.

Like a muscle gone weak from neglect, the courage required to repudiate social stupidity must be rebuilt. To help you do so, I have prepared a diverse assortment of questions that call for snap judgments. Remember to trust your visceral responses. Good luck!

QUESTIONS

1. The meek shall inherit the earth. True_ False_

2. Quentin Tarantino once had an original idea. True_ False_

3. Everything happens for a reason. True_ False_

4. Harmony and joy will return to this troubled world of ours only after Garrison Keillor has been pecked to death by a duck. True_ False_

5. You are unique. True_ False_

6. Sacha Baron Cohen is funnier than syphilis. True_ False_

7. All men are created equal. True_ False_

8. In hell, all elevator Muzak is by Pink Martini. True_ False_

9. Creationism should be taught in high school science classes as a legitimate alternative to evolution. True_ False_

10. In Narcotics Anonymous, describing The Grateful Dead as – “a hideous shambles of talentless wing-nuts I can no longer endure” – is considered a pivotal breakthrough moment in recovery. True_ False_

ANSWER KEY

1. Sadly, this is not true, except to the extent that they will be buried in the earth.

2. False. No evidence supports this, although there is a remote possibility that he had one and kept it to himself.

3. True – frequently a bad reason.

4. True.

5. True. You are indeed unique; it’s one of the few qualities you share with everyone else.

6. True. Sacha Baron Cohen is a tiny bit funnier than syphilis.

7. False. Nobody believes this.

8. True. While no one has returned from hell to validate this, the force of logical deduction seems irrefutable.

9. True. In addition, Bozomism (clown worship) should be preached in all churches as a legitimate alternative to Christianity.

10. True. There is no record anywhere of a person listening to the Grateful Dead while sober.

Time Loves A Hero, But Crowds Like A Fall

angry mob

If you’ve ever gotten divorced you know that, as soon as it happens your married friends start avoiding you as if the inability to maintain a relationship is some sort of bizarre, highly contagious skin condition. The fate of those fighting serious mental health issues, including addiction, is far worse.

The road leading out of Bedlam seems endlessly challenging but we trudge it all the same, then, at the finish line, in place of that brass band we expect there is an angry mob. It seems beastly unkind, especially after the hard work, but before you start nursing a grudge (“No amount of nursing will ever make a grudge healthy.” Taz Mopula) understand a few things about who and what you’ve become and why the new you is bringing out the very worst this wretched refuse has to offer.

The day you went skidding off the road and right into downtown Cuckoopantsatopolis was the day you reminded every straight arrow of your acquaintance that none of us is ever truly safe. Sanity itself, that sine qua non for the bourgeois, mediocre, pointless life ostensibly guaranteed by the Constitution, is as vulnerable as a Fabergé egg. Nobody wants to be reminded of that, and yet you do.

“But wait,” you say, in that adorably naïve tone of voice you apply to questions that illustrate your innocence, “do I not also teach, i.e. show, that by facing down these unholy perils one can evolve spiritually and grow stronger, actually emerging as a better, more morally grounded person in the process?”

Yes, yes you do, Sparky, and this is precisely why that mob is roughly as happy to see you as they were to see Frankenstein.

They say in the rooms that a pickle can never return to its previous incarnation as a cucumber. While you may be a reformed devil transformed into an angel, one thing is certain, you will never again be just another Bozo on the bus in the eyes of outsiders; the tired, the poor, the slow, the dim. Fellow insiders know better, they know that all of us are merely Bozos on the bus, but that is another story.

Your very existence says to these apple pie bakers and flag wavers, “My experience is larger than yours, I know terrible truths you dare not admit. Though horribly handicapped I have emerged morally grounded, fearless, strong, and (most upsetting of all) happy.” Trust me, they will never forgive you for that.

You have become a teacher, a leader, whether you care to admit it or not. As ever, peace of mind lies in embracing the inevitable, my advice is – learn how to lead by example, make your life a poem, a prayer.

Look around you; we desperately need leaders. Today we have none, instead we have celebrities who only lead by being cautionary tales, they show us what not to do.

How To Tell A Genius From An Imbecile

twins

If you’ve ever known any truly stupid people you’ve undoubtedly noticed that there’s something quite disarming and adorable about them.

The genuinely slow don’t really want or expect much from life; avoiding the spotlight’s glare in favor of simple, repetitive activities which, while certain to bore the likes of us to tears, provide them with endless hours of meaningless, idiotic entertainment. Indeed, the stupid in our midst almost never cause real trouble unless they are prompted to do so by unscrupulous, manipulative smarties.

As a group, dolts, dummies, and dimbulbs are quick to acknowledge their limitations and freely admit that they have much to be humble about. They are comfortable soliciting help and guidance, which, ironically, demonstrates a highly accurate sense of self and an endearing degree of humility.

The same cannot be of the highly intelligent who live surrounded by funhouse mirrors exquisitely designed to deny them the sweet comfort – and wisdom – of humility.

Smarty pants are always surprised, and impressed, by their own intelligence and consequently hold it in higher and higher esteem until, at last, they assume themselves to be the final authority in all things and therefore in no need of education of any sort. At this point they delight in making themselves feel larger still by reminding the stupid of how stupid they actually are, and the stupid, being stupid, and agreeable, play along. Thus is the cycle of arrogance and ignorance stoked like a furnace.

Unfortunately, any individual who asserts that he is omniscient, has irrefutably demonstrated idiocy, and therefore cannot be said to be brilliant. 

More to the point, increasing intelligence and wisdom leads irrevocably to increased humility and admission of ignorance until the only possible proof of true brilliance and wisdom would be utter humility which would posit the significance of what one does not know and the insignificance of what one does know. 

This would mean that only the brilliant man would know and admit how stupid he is, while the man convinced of his own brilliance would not yet be wise enough to be stupid.

Invisible Driving Press Release

 

01 Invisible Driving Cover Framed 2

 

Hailed as ‘The quintessential expression of Bipolar Disorder in print’, Alistair McHarg’s compelling memoir sheds vital light on one of the world’s most bizarre and misunderstood illnesses. Taking readers on a first-person account of a manic episode and depicting the perilous road to recovery, ‘Invisible Driving’ is resonating with an eclectic global readership.

For Immediate Release

While 1.2% (statistic: National Institute of Mental Health) of the American population suffer from Manic Depression, commonly referred to as Bipolar Disorder, it remains one of the most stigmatized and misunderstood illnesses among society. However, a gripping and emotive new memoir by Alistair McHarg is making waves across the nation as it slowly but steadily chips away at this stigma and presents the raw realities of life with the illness.

‘Invisible Driving’ illustrates the harsh reality that 2.3 million U.S. adults deal with every day.

Synopsis:

Invisible Driving is a memoir of Manic Depression that takes readers inside the terrors, thrills, and triumphs of coming to terms with this debilitating and misunderstood mental illness. The manic narrator’s voice vividly recreates the feelings and sensations of mania, offering an unprecedented look at this fascinating and bizarre state of being. While behavior and thought illuminate the condition of mania, it is the protagonist’s language itself that most viscerally conveys what it feels like to be trapped inside a manic ‘high.’

The voice of the recovered narrator provides context, reliability, and credibility. Where the manic narrator is relentlessly entertaining and delusional, the recovered narrator is tough minded, concise, and determined to reveal the truth, no matter how painful. With a cold eye he examines the forces that shaped him in order to shed light on the psychological architecture driving the episode. 

The interplay between these two perspectives underscores the bipolar nature of Manic Depression; the greatest personal challenge is reconciling them. Ultimately, the narrator must confront his own worst nightmare and in doing so gain character, insight, and acceptance.

As the author explains, he hopes that offering an intimate account of his own struggle with Manic Depression will help change the public’s perceptions about the illness, as well as those forced to live with it.

“I’ve struggled with Manic Depression for thirty-nine years. With one in five of us completing suicide, it’s time the world wakes up to just how cruel this illness is to us. My aim for the book was to offer an unprecedented ‘insider perspective’, to make the illness and its experiences understandable to a general audience, as well as illuminating the difficult road to recovery,” says McHarg, who travels the country speaking about his experiences with Manic Depression.

Continuing, “I am determined to change how the public view the illness and its victims. My journey so far has taken me to prestigious platforms including the Thomas Jefferson Medical College and WBZ Boston’s Jordan Rich Show. There’s a lot more ground to cover but I’m already seeing shifts in perception as a result of openly discussing my life and work.”

Since its release, the book has garnered a consistent string of rave reviews. 

“One of the best books of its kind, written by a man who has been there,” says leading Bipolar authority Dr. E. Fuller Torrey.

F. Burnside was equally as impressed, adding, “McHarg has achieved the nearly impossible task of describing mental illness with mere words – but what words! He takes you into the eye of the manic hurricane and gives you the lightning, thunder and the sunshine all at once with extended stream of conscious word play that somehow makes sense.”

‘Invisible Driving’ is available now: http://amzn.to/117Ag2T –   Book excerpts and author interviews (print & video) are available at http://www.alistairmcharg.com.

About the Author:

Writer and performer Alistair McHarg grew up in Philadelphia, attended Germantown Friends School, graduated from Haverford College with honors, and earned an M.A. in creative writing from the University of Louisville. He has been a promotional copywriter for 30 years, but creative writing has always been his passion. He has published two satiric novels, Moonlit Tours and Washed Up, and has been publishing poetry for decades. “Miscellaneous” employment includes fighting forest fires in Alaska, working as a deckhand on a Norwegian freighter touring South America, and driving a cab in Philadelphia.