JT Eberhard Skepticon 4 Mental Illness and Why The Skeptic Community Should Give a Shit


Here is an interesting talk from Skepticon 4 about how mental illness needs to be normalized — in a sense. And by normalized, the idea that being crazy is a stigma preventing people from getting help needs to change.

And we, as skeptics, need to lead the way to do this.

It’s a good talk.

The speaker talks about managing anorexia. Mental disorders are more common than you think.

Check out the video.



David Sedaris: The Man and the Snail

This is a quick joke that will make you laugh.

When I lived in NC, I listened to a lot of NPR. Nothing much has changed there. But Sedaris was featured a lot. More so there, because Sedaris lived there for a while.

His story telling has influenced me. But his distinctive voice sells a lot of the funny.

I also enjoyed this one (below), which is a little longer, but the way Sedaris tells stories is almost exactly the way I wish I could.

Who else can get by with repeating the profanities like that? It’s amazing.


Pope Mohammed and Black Friday


“I thought Black Friday was like Halloween,” says Pope Mohammed while licking the tip of an ice cream cone. He has strawberry. You have chocolate.

“I thought you dressed in black face and spoke in ebonics,” Pope Mohammed continued. The ice cream on the top of his cone resembled a pink ocean wave stopped in time.

Pope Mohammed and you are sitting on a bench in a mall, licking ice cream and watching lots of people walking with lots of bags.

It’s black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. It’s a day for deals. In your mind, it shows a call back to evolution, and how some people have a stronger propensity to hunt and scavenge for items they deem “valuable.”

“If I were married,” says Pope Mohammed. “I would divorce my wife if she came home with that many bags.”

You look up to see a women carrying what looks like a hundred bags. Her face is flush. And you can see a bead of sweat on her brow. Her glasses have fogged up.

“Of course, that’s why we need stricter divorce laws,” says Pope Mohammed. He bites into the edge of his cone. “Divorce is too easy these days.”

When you bite your cone, the crunch is echoey in your ears. You look down and a splotch of brown is on your shirt. You dab at it with a napkin.

“Stricter divorce laws make accountability for fidelity almost nil.” Pope Mohammed bites deeper into the hollow of his cone. “We need these fledgling marriages to stay together. That’s standup morality.”

“Coffee is my cocaine”

Before I moved in with Tina, I lived in a studio apartment at Clark and Diversey here in Chicago.

It was a great apartment in a great location. There was a grocery store across the street. I was walking distance to good nightlife, great stores (Best Buy, Marshalls, record shops), and the lake front.

My neighborhood was populated by lots of young people and very few families. It was a mecca for beggars, transients and organizations like Green Peace hoping to stop you and convince you to give money to their operation.

The people watching in that neighborhood is among the best. One second, a crazy women picking up cigarette butts and lighting them would walk by. The next, a group of young, hot women. I was close to a home for blind people, so there was often a person tapping his cane down the sidewalk, crossing the street with tentative ease.

The local Panera Bread attracted lots of students and elderly folks who sat all day drinking coffee and making hilarious observations about life, complaining about all that ailed them, and politics.

There was a McDonald’s close by, too. One morning I walked over for an Egg McMuffin. There were always a mix of older people in there as well. I worked from home so most of them were retired.

As I waited for my order, this man ordered a coffee. He turned to me and he said, “I need a cup of coffee. Coffee is my cocaine. I can’t get going without it.”

“Is that so?” I asked.

“Coffee is my cocaine.” He repeated.

He paused, then said, “Don’t get me wrong. I don’t do actual cocaine. I just do coffee … it’s my cocaine.”

I miss that old ‘hood.