["Addiction is a chronic disorder proposed to be precipitated by a combination of genetic, biological/pharmacological and social factors. Addiction is characterized by the repeated use of substances or behaviors despite clear evidence of morbidity secondary to such use."]

There's no escape
I can't wait
I need a hit
Baby, gimme it
You're dangerous
I'm lovin' it

She's a schoolgirl. But make no mistake - she's not that innocent.

She knows she's Lucky. But somehow, she just can't get no satisfaction.

She's a slave 4 U. But don't think that means she wants to be so damned overprotected, OK?

She's crazy.

She's toxic (and she might be slippin' under).

...And now, she's bald. Cool.

I'm Slim Shady, yes, I'm the real Shady
all you other Slim Shadys are just imitating
so won't the real Slim Shady please stand up,
and put one of those fingers on each hand up
and be proud to be outta your mind
and outta control

Qu'est-ce qui se passe?

Qué passo?

WTF, mate?

. . .

You thought she'd never do something as CRAZY as that, didn't you? ...Did you think she'd be too scared? Too vain to lose those long, sultry locks? Well, I guess you're just gonna have to think again, bee-atch! Know why? 'Cause Britney feels pain too. Yeah, that s'right. She's been through it - lived on the fringe. (Don't think she hasn't.) She's got layers. She's got angst. She's effing hard as nails. Don't mess.

Guess this'll be the last time the media plays "Chicken" with her, eh?

As far as I'm concerned, she's proven herself.

Yep, Alterna-Spears has said it loud and clear:

"I'm still a Slave 2 all the celebrity trends, and I'm so through with being ignored!"

You'd better believe that motherhood hasn't skewed her perspective. She still knows what's "in" - she still knows how today's Hollywood elite stay ahead. She knows that fail safe way to get a leg-up back into the spotlight. You know how those celebs do it, don't you?

They go to Rehab. ...Well, first they have one (or several) public meltdowns - this is key. Then once they've gotten our attention (which admittedly takes a lot these days) and shown us all just how upset they are; how tired they are of their privacy being so ruthlessly invaded - THEN, they go to Rehab.

In all fairness, Lindsay and Nicole, like, just got out of rehab, right? It was totally Britney's turn to go (again). And Britney Spears is basically Nicole Ritchie. I mean, their lives are so similar, ...right? ...Right?? ...

Besides, it's cool to be all punk rock, it's cool to be angry, it's cool to be "messed up" - it's cool to be dark and jaded. ...Right??

Too high
Can't come down
Losin' my head
Spinnin' 'round and 'round...
With the taste of the poison paradise
I'm addicted to you
Don't you know that you're toxic?
Intoxicate me now...

Here's what's not cool:
- Glamorizing the "heroin-chic" image - drug abuse, addiction, depression, DUI's, self-destruction, etc.
- Using self-destructive or disturbing behavior to get the attention of the popular media - to "up" one's exposure; to "reinvent" one's self.

Maybe I'm not being altogether fair. Maybe Britney really is suffering, which is truly sad. Addiction and depression are real, serious illnesses. I am not trivializing that.

But here's the part I'm stuck on: If she's suffering from illness, why did she need to shave her head in public? It's not like that's a subtle move. (Nor is flashing the paparazzi whenever you go out for drinks with Paris Hilton, I might add.) It's definitely not constructive or mature behavior. As far as I know, she's not raising money for cancer research.

OK, *maybe* Britney shaving her own head is equivalent in her mind to a cry for help. It just seems more like an adolescent prank - a way to say, "I'm angry!" - an effective ploy to get "Mom and Dad" to pay more attention. Negative attention is better than no attention at all. (There's no such thing as bad press.)

I think she threw a tantrum. She got controversial. (Her image was suffering a bit.) And she most definitely got some major attention for it - and it's not as though she's oblivious to her celebrity status.

If she really wants people to just "leave her alone" so that she can get her life back together, why didn't she just go privately and quietly into rehab with the support of her cadre of personal assistants, managers, groupies and the like. If she wanted a break from the paparazzi, why didn't she lay low for a while? Why didn't she emote in the privacy of her home? Why didn't she attempt to stay in rehab the first time??

Those who are clinically ill tend to suffer in relative silence. Drug addicts don't commonly attach scarlet letter A's to their chests and walk around pouting.

Yes, I think it's dumb that such a big deal has been made of Britney's x-treme haircut. Yes, the media hype is ridiculous. But it's not as though such things haven't been ravished by those media fiends before this (Jennifer Aniston's nose job?). And those "fiends" aren't dumb. We eat that stuff up. There's nothing like a good celebrity rag to pass the time while we're clocked-in at the cubicle. I think Britney knew (at least in part) what she was doing. She's mastered the art of stirring things up (and she's been doing it for years!).

Oops! ...I did it again
I played with your heart,
got lost in the game
Oops! ...You think I'm in love,
That I'm sent from above
I'm not that innocent

It seems that none of us are innocent when it comes to these sorts of things. I know that by writing about Britney's "meltdown" here I'm only extending her exposure (but minutely, at best). But I also feel like there is a big difference between poking fun at a celebrity's silly Golden Globe gown and contributing to the general lack of understanding, which I believe still exists, about mental illness and physical addiction. ("Spears has gone nuts! She's gone insane, I tell ya!")

And if her reasons for checking herself into a rehabilitation center are legitimate, then seeking treatment is honorable. I hope very much that she takes it seriously and sticks it out so that she might earn some good publicity. I also hope that the general public doesn't relish hearing about the suffering of others (and I mean actual suffering, not embarrassment from some wardrobe malfunction). I think that is something we, as the media-consuming public, should be careful about. Laughter is healthy, but sadism is decidedly toxic.


the biology of love II

["Recent studies in neuroscience have indicated that as people fall in love, the brain consistently releases a certain set of chemicals, including dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, which act similar to amphetamines, stimulating the brain's pleasure center and leading to side-effects such as an increased heart rate, loss of appetite and sleep, and an intense feeling of excitement. ...Attachment is the bonding which promotes relationships that last for many years, and even decades. Attachment is generally based on commitments such as marriage and children, or on mutual friendship based on things like shared interests."]

In honor of my parents, who have been married for about 30 years now, I wanted to include this video in today's postings. This song (the more traditional version, that is) is what my mom and dad selected as their wedding ceremony music... and this was well before it became so overused - or "overexposed" in this context so that now, it might well be characterized as some sort commercial/Hollywood cliché (think Father of the Bride circa 1991).

So my parents were pretty cutting-edge, as is this pumped-up arrangement of Pachelbel's Canon in D:

Special thanks to JerryC/funtwo, the composer of the arrangement & the musician.

the biology of love

["Biological models of sex tend to view love as a mammalian drive, much like hunger or thirst. Helen Fisher, a leading expert in the topic of love, divides the experience of love into three partly-overlapping stages: lust, attraction, and attachment..."]

Here are some interesting Valentine's Day statistics, courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau.

(love conquers) amnesia

["Fugue state is also known as dissociative fugue. It is caused by psychological trauma and is usually temporary. The Merck Manual defines it as 'one or more episodes of amnesia in which the inability to recall some or all of one's past and either the loss of one's identity or the formation of a new identity occur with sudden, unexpected, purposeful travel away from home'. While popular in fiction, it is extremely rare."]

~Happy V-Day to everyone~

I understand that the holiday is bittersweet for many (I've heard it tartly referred to as "Singles' Awareness Day"), and I know that some people prefer to ignore it altogether. I myself am trying to maintain the view that today is a Wednesday like any other... but a friend sent me the following article, and I can't resist sharing it (despite the context).

The man featured in this article, Jeff Ingram, wandered off and forgot literally everything about his life as he knew it when he suffered from an episode of dissociative amnesia. But through the most unpredictable of circumstances, he was reunited with his girlfriend of over two years, and has since fallen in love with her all over again. (It's really an amazing story - I think even the most cynical would consider it heartwarming.)


going viral II (here it goes... again)

This is one of the videos that "went viral" on YouTube, and seemed to be a large part of what catapulted OK Go to fame last year. It was mentioned on that 20/20 segment that I mentioned yesterday evening. "Here It Goes Again," is an example of how successful viral marketing can be. It's such a clever video, and I can understand it's popularity. But I wonder how much of "viral" success is owed to pure luck and/or good timing? Why do certain videos spread like wildfire in the online community while other attempts at this type of exposure fail?

(virtual) intelligence II

["Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be defined as the study of methods by which a computer can simulate aspects of human intelligence. One aim of this study is to design a computer that might be able to reason for itself...."]

This is a digital image that I created as part of a project for a past photography class (I had a great time doing it too):

(All rights reserved.)

narcolepsy (dog-tired)

["Narcolepsy is a neurological condition most characterized by Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS). A narcoleptic will most likely experience disturbed nocturnal sleep, confused with insomnia, and disorder of REM or rapid eye movement sleep. It is a type of dyssomnia."]

There are medications and certain behavioral therapies (including the strategy of taking controlled naps) that are used to help effectively control this disorder. Narcolepsy is, however, often left undiagnosed, and the signs of the disease are many times misunderstood by parents and teachers.

It has been known for some time that certain mutations in the hypocretin gene is what causes narcolepsy in dogs. If you'd like to learn more about the genetics responsible for narcolepsy, this report from Nature Medicine is quite interesting - it shows that such mutations are also seen in humans. I learned more about this common disorder in one of my neurobiology classes, and I think part of why I remember the etiology so well is because of the following clinical case:

(And so, without further ado, I present Rusty, the narcoleptic dachshund.)