Eyes of a Child

Sena wonders if I’m ever going to use Patsy Cline’s tune “If I Could See the World (Through the Eyes of a Child) in a blog post. She also brought home a potted plant she bought, an Easter Lily, ahead of Easter Sunday on April 9th next week. I thought of a couple of things, and of course one is a quote from Men in Black 3:

Agent O: “Agent K is dead!”

Agent J: “Well, I just talked to him last night!”

Agent O: “You are imagining things.”

Agent J: “I’m not imagining anything. Aqua Velva after shave! I didn’t imagine that. Where every stakeout, endless hours of cowboy music.

Agent J and I have a few things in common. One of them is a mild dislike for country western (cowboy by extension) music. I can’t help it OK; the Patsy Cline tune is one of those.

I’m the first to admit I’m not a Bible scholar, but I’m going to talk a little bit about the apparent contradictions between being childish and childlike in the Bible. The reason is that the lyrics in “If I Could See the World” is either an obvious or accidental reference to the seeming contradiction between being like a child in one sense and in another sense, growing up and putting away childish things.

There’s no contradiction if you remember the scripture quotes are in different contexts. In childhood, we’re innocent, trusting, and open. Being open to the kingdom of heaven is the context for that. On the other hand, another context is when we grow up and recognize the duplicity in other people and the inevitable push to learn how to lie. If you don’t tell Aunt Clara that you love her gift of fruitcake at Christmas, you will be grounded for a week.

OK, so that’s the extent of my Bible scholarship.

I’m not a credible music critic either. But it’s easy to see the connection of the Patsy Cline song “If I Could See the World (Through the Eyes of a Child) to the book of Matthew. At the same time, the lyrics ignore the book of Corinthians, which tells how important it is to give up being childish. You need to lie to get by sometimes, although Agent J has trouble telling just where and when to stop lying. Much of MIB 3 is about the conflict over telling the truth and lying.

Come to think of it, that conflict could be much of what life is about.

Agent J after finally telling young Agent K that Boris the Animal will kill him when he goes to Florida to stop Boris, and that’s what Agent J wants to prevent: “I know I told you everything but…”

Young Agent K punches him in the nose: “That’s for lying to me! He punches Agent J again and says, “And that’s for telling me the truth!”

The Patsy Cline song is about seeing all of the good and none of the bad, all of the right and none of the wrong—and how wonderful that would be. Could it be ironic? On the other hand, in the real world of grownups, maybe Griffin has the idea:

Griffin: “The bitterest truth is better than the sweetest lie.” Well, sometimes.

Do You Really Need to Replace That Ceiling Light?

Sena and I just had a very challenging time installing a ceiling light to replace an old fan. I just want to point out that I would always rather hire a handyman to do this because I’m not real comfortable with electrical components. I can replace outlets and switches OK, but the ceiling fan…well, all I can say is we got the job done.

You always want to cut the power off at the circuit breaker before tackling a job like this, of course. And there are the usual problems with hooking up the right wires to each other between the ceiling light fixture (or whatever) and the electrical box in the ceiling.

The model of ceiling light we got had a fairly heavy base, which is the thing that has all the wires and the fluffy insulation and covers whatever mistakes you made in the electrical box. Just kidding.

This was a 2-person job for us and involved jockeying around on a tall ladder, taking turns hanging on to the heavy base while the other did the magic of making wiring connections. If the base had been lighter, we could have hooked up the ground wire in the ceiling with the ground wire in the fixture and just let it hang.

Sena found helpful YouTube videos about how to manage this installation. There were different perspectives on grounding, even on whether you need to do it given that some experts said the electrical box is already grounded so another grounding contact is unnecessary.

We grounded generously and even wrapped wire nuts with electrician’s tape.

Making the wire connections was hard enough, but we thought the most frustrating part was fishing for those two mounting screws through all that fluffy insulation on the base. I thought we’d never get that done.

If you ever have to do a thing like this, you might want to consider hiring the job out to someone who has a lot of experience with it.

Crank the volume on the video to hear my voice over comments.

Whitetail Deer Think Your Lawn is a Salad Bar

We have a small herd of whitetail deer who regularly visit our lawn because they think it’s a salad bar. They’re all over the neighborhood because the city apparently doesn’t have a consistent deer population management plan. I don’t know anything about the animals, other than what I care to look up on the internet.

We saw several bucks the yesterday. One of them was missing an antler. It might have been lost in a fight with another buck.

As far as we could tell, most of the deer seemed pretty healthy, although I guess you can’t really tell which ones might have chronic wasting disease just by looking at them.

One animal looked like it might have suffered an injury, possibly from a buck. The lesions looked like they might be healing.

I guess this time of year, they would be molting. That probably explains why some of them look scraggly.

Sena taps on the windows and orders them off the property. That doesn’t work. Sometimes they look up at you like they know you’re staring at them—but they usually ignore you and go back to munching on your lawn.

I wonder if I’d feel differently about culling the whitetail deer if I watched hunters actually cull them—or kill them. The word “culling” actually sounds like a nicer version of “killing.” The definition of culling is the reduction in the population of wild animals by “selective slaughtering.”

The origin of the word “cull” is interesting. It comes from the Latin verb colligere, meaning “to gather.” In general, it means to collect a group of animals into separate groups: one to keep and one to kill. Usually, it’s about killing the weak and sick ones.

On the other hand, the origin of the word “kill” seems to be obscure. Of course, it means to strike, hit, put to death. It might derive from an Old English word, “cwellan,” which means to murder, or execute.

Cwellan, cull, kill. I think it’s a coincidence they sound similar. None of them sound like “Bambi.” When me and my brother were little, we had a toy record player that played a simplified version of the Disney classic movie, Bambi. It had either a little storybook that came with it or a little slide show. It got a lot of use. One slide showed a shadowy image of a big stag. Eventually the record got stuck on a place that cried over and over, “Man!”

Maybe that’s why the city doesn’t have a whitetail deer culling plan.

“Stink, Stank, Stunk!”

I’m just puzzled lately over what seems like a contradiction between two ideas I’ve seen in the news and in TV commercials. It’s all about body odor.

There is this study that was recently published about stinky armpit odor possibly making the practice of mindfulness meditation more effective.

This contrasts with the usual meaning of body odor, which is that it’s to be avoided and prevented at all costs. And, the newest total body odor eliminator product is getting heavy rotation in TV commercials and its name rhymes, (possibly fittingly) with “looney.” I’m just going to frankly admit that I can’t stand watching the commercial.

There is this old timer product called Ex-Odor that was marketed in the early 1900s by a company called Gordon Gordon, Ltd. The label said it “Removes All Body Odors.” It was touted as “safe, sure, lasting” and it cost only ten cents. The original label actually did italicize the word “All.” On the other hand, Looney is a lot more expensive—just sayin’.

The armpit odor study and Looney definitely send opposite messages about body odor.

In fact, there is a psychiatric disorder marked by an intense preoccupation with smelling bad. I think it’s still called Olfactory Reference Disorder (ORD). Almost any part of the body could stink and could lead to showering several times a day or visits to ENT doctors to get “infected” and therefore smelly tonsils removed. The disorder not uncommonly gets requests for consultation-liaison psychiatrists to get involved.

Olfactory Reference Disorder can lead to severe, even disabling, social anxiety. It can lead to beliefs that have delusional intensity.

Often, those with ORD firmly believe they emit a foul odor, often from armpits, or inguinal, anal, and oral areas. Some seek surgical treatment. There are many other disorders which consultation-liaison psychiatrists need to remember in order to distinguish ORD from them. Combined cognitive behavioral therapy, possibly along with medication can be recommended as treatment.

Suggested screening questions include:

  • “Are you very worried or concerned about your body odor in any way?
  • Do you believe that other people are also aware of the way you smell (your body odor) and take special notice of it (e.g., make comments about the smell)?
  • Is there anything you feel an urge to do often and repeatedly in order to lessen your worries about your body odor? (e.g., repeatedly brush your teeth, wash or change clothes frequently, smell self or ask others for reassurance)
  • Do you avoid any situations or activities (e.g., sport/dating) because of this body odor?
  • Do these worries about the way you smell negatively affect your mood (e.g., cause shame, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts) or your daily life (e.g., relationships, work, school, social)?”

I’m not trying to make any value judgments about either the study or the Looney product. Well, maybe a little. It does remind me of a few lines from the Grinch song:

You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch,
You’re a nasty wasty skunk,
Your heart is full of unwashed socks,
Your soul is full of gunk, Mr. Grinch.

The three words that best describe you are, and I quote, “Stink, stank, stunk”!


  • Thomas, E., et al. (2015). “Olfactory Reference Disorder: Diagnosis, Epidemiology and Management.” CNS Drugs 29(12): 999-1007.
  • Lim, L. and Y. M. Wan (2015). “Jikoshu-kyofu in Singapore.” Australasian Psychiatry 23(3): 300-302.
  • McKenna, P. J. (1984). “Disorders with overvalued ideas.” Br J Psychiatry145: 579-585.
  • Santin, J. M. and F. M. Galvez (2011). “Overvalued ideas: psychopathologic issues.” Actas Esp Psiquiatr 39(1): 70-74.
  • Mullen, R. and R. J. Linscott (2010). “A comparison of delusions and overvalued ideas.” J Nerv Ment Dis 198(1): 35-38.
  • Miranda-Sivelo, A., et al. (2013). “Unnecessary surgical treatment in a case of olfactory reference syndrome.” General Hospital Psychiatry 35(6): 683.e683-683.e684.

Stuck in Two Ball Shower Juggling Practice

I get stuck at certain stages in juggling. It’s uglier than usual with learning the Shower. I’m struggling with the two-ball practice. I’ve looked at the YouTube videos of several experts and their demos vary.

I found out from a Wikipedia article that the two ball Shower is a thing. But it’s not juggling. I’ve been stuck in ugly juggling learning stages before. I’m thinking I’ll get through it.

Sena is still learning to juggle. She’s eager to try the three ball Cascade. We’re both dropping balls all over the place.

Juggling in Living Color!

Sena got me a spectacular gift—glowing juggling balls! They’re not like any of the juggling balls we have. You plug them into a wall socket and they light up.

They are not much bigger than the other juggling balls we have, so not much of a learning curve. In a way, they’re kind of like stage balls, only not as big as most of those are. And the light show is fantastic, especially in the dark. There are several colors, they can be bright or dim and programmable to change colors as you juggle.

And they’re solid, not filled with millet. When you charge them up, they sort of “breathe” red color (meaning they wax and wane with brightness). And when charged (takes about and hour and a half), they “breathe” green.

Hello, I’m Dr. James Caramel Brown

I read Dr. Moffic’s article, “The United States Psychiatric Association: Social Psychiatric Prediction #4”. I think the rationale for renaming the American Psychiatric Association makes sense.

However, it also got me thinking about the names of other associations connected to the APA (here meaning American Psychiatric Association). One of them is the Black Psychiatrists of America, Inc. We make up about 2% of psychiatrists in the United States.

It also reminded me to once again do a web search for the term “Black psychiatrists in Iowa.” It turns out the results would lead to a repeat of my previous post “Black Psychiatrists in Iowa” on May 7, 2019. Nothing has changed. My colleague Dr. Donald Black, MD is still coming up in the search. Just as a reminder, he’s not black.

It probably comes as no surprise to readers of my blog that this also reminds me of a couple of Men in Black scenes.

Video of Men in Black scene, Dr. Black and Dr. White quotes.

And my post still appears high up in the list of web sites. There has also not been published a more recent edition of the Greater Iowa African American Resource Guide than the one in 2019. You can still find my name and that of Dr. Rodney J. Dean listed in the 2019 edition as the only black psychiatrists in Iowa.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m retired. I have never considered changing my name and title to Dr. James Caramel Brown. If you noticed that the “Caramel Brown” part is from Men in Black 3 (Agent J talking about what Agent K should say about his skin color in his eulogy for him), give yourself a pat on the back.

Agent J: Can you promise me something, if I go first, you’ll do better than that at my funeral? Yeah, something like, uh: “J was a friend. Now there’s a big part of me that’s gone. Oh, J, all the things I should have said, except I was too old and craggy and surly and just tight. I was too tight. Now, I’m gonna just miss your caramel-brown skin.”

Agent K: I’ll wing something.

Anyway, I’m not sure what to do about renaming the American Psychiatric Association. But I think whoever is in charge of google search results for the term “black psychiatrists in Iowa” could improve on the current situation.

Feisty and So On

There’s this dialogue in Men in Black II between Serleena and Zed:

Serleena: Zed, look at you, 25 years and you’re still just such a looker.

Zed: Cut out the meat dairy. And you, still a pile of squirmy crap in a different wrapper.

Serleena: So feisty.

I’m becoming more aware of the use of the word “feisty” in reference to so-called “older” persons. That’s because I’m getting older.

I noticed an article on the use of patronizing words for older persons. A couple of other such words are “spry” and “sharp.”

“Sharp” as in sharp as a tack (for his age, of course). Also, as in sharp enough to know today’s date.

“Spry” as in he is spry enough to get into and out of a chair.

I’m also spry enough on most days to do under the leg and behind the back juggling tricks.

I’m still sharp enough to know the difference between respectful and patronizing.

I guess that makes me feisty.

Do Not Lie to Me!

In about an hour (a galactic standard week), I plan to watch yet another rerun of Men in Black. That’s the first one of the trilogy. I nearly always can find a connection with some quotes from the MIB movies and current events. I don’t care to specify the current events because they’re depressing.

The title of this post is actually part of quote from MIB 3, “…do not lie to me!” I can apply this one to just about every news story.

Another quote is often applicable in the daily news, and it’s from Men in Black:

Agent K: “We do not discharge our weapons in view of the public!”

Agent J: “We don’t got time for this cover-up bullshit! Look, I don’t know if you forgot, but there’s an Arquillian Battle…”

Agent K: “There’s always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Korilian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable planet. Agent K: “There’s always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Korilian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable planet. The only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that—they do not know about it!”

Unless there is something we can do about it, I do not want to know about the Arquillian Battle Cruiser.

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