Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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"Did I waste decades just fighting my way out of the quicksand that could have been spent building a more successful and fulfilling life?"

Not if you like who you are. Many times the journey is as important as the destination.

As for automatically prescribing antdepressants for the bereaved I don't think it's a good idea.

I base that on the experiences of my two grandmothers. One lost an infant child and was never quite right after that. The other lost two husbands and after working through the loss of her second husband became a much more loving, open, tolerant, and adventurous person.

So where one might have benefitted
from such a practice the other may have been prevented from the positive changes that working through her loss brought about.


Not if you like who you are.

Yeah, I do. but/and I've had a sad life.

michael reynolds

I think Dyre has it right. Good for some, not good for others.

I realized the other day that I take an awful lot of pills for a basically healthy guy: zocor, ambien, aspirin, Advil, zyrtec. They're all things I could probably deal with by other means: diet, excercize, clean living. Stoicism. But on the other hand, ambien works really well.


I can concur with Michael on the ambien. I've recently used a course of it to break a cycle of insomnia that'd plagued me since my daughter was born 19 years ago. Without a doubt, my sleep deprivation contributed to a number of factors in the ending of a largely successful 25 year marriage to the former mrs. meade... that is, my sleep deprivation, her mid-life crisis, and a fatal dose of bad luck.

Would that there were a drug that could help her with her personal crisis the way ambien helped me solve my sleeplessness.

Psilocybin? Analysis? Jesus? Zen?

While I've effectively used diet, excercise, clean living and stoicism to help meet most of my personal life challenges, I also have immense appreciation for certain modern drugs -- well-prescribed by qualified health care providers -- which work as temporary allies in bridging the way back to health, happiness, and a solid nightly eight hours of damned delicious restorative rest.

Thanks for asking.

michael reynolds

What a coincidence: I've had trouble sleeping since my son was born 9 years ago. My wife and I were always night people, up around 10:00 or 11:00 am. Suddenly we're forced into an early morning cycle. To this day without ambien and a scotch I'd be up till 3:00 am, regardless of how tired I am.


Gee, maybe psilocybin, from what Ann quoted.

I have the impression there is an epidemic of insomnia in this country. What does that say about the way we live? Too much caffeine? Adrenaline? Artificial light?

Here's a guy who uses a version of the Feldenkrais Method to help people. You'll notice that he wrote a book called The Insomnia Solution -- drug free. FWIW.

I am a real drug avoider. I'll take aspirin, and the occasional antibiotic when necessary. But then, I haven't had my cholesterol checked for about 10 years, which is stupid since my father's side of the family has heart disease. Haven't had a mammogram in 13. Death wish?

Dave Schuler

As someone who has (more or less) conquered insomnia without the use of drugs, may I offer some suggestions?

Avoid alcohol or caffeine after about 7:00pm in the evening. Caffeine will keep you awake. Alcohol will interfere with REM sleep.

Establish a routine. Retire at roughly the same time every night.

Allow yourself to wind down. Begin the process of going to bed well in advance of actual retiring time.


My father died unexpectedly this year. (Actually, the situation was similar to how Joan Didion's husband passed away.)

They met in college and married and he was the love of her life. As they ran a small buisness together, they not only spent their domestic life with each other, but were also together every day in their work life.

A few weeks after my father's death my mother's anxiety was out-of-control. She would only sleep, fitfully, a few hours a night. (If that; and she would wake up and roam the house around 3a.m. She would say things she couldn't remember saying. She also couldn't remember how to do things like calculate tips, and shop for groceries. (by the way, she was a math major at University.)

I made sure she started seeing a psychologist and also brought her to our family doctor. We were in complete synch with putting her on a SSRI.

The SSRI helped her anxiety. The results were noticeable in about a week.

At first I decided I didn't need a SSRI. However, about a month later my grandmother went to the hospital with pneumonia, and my best friend was diagnosed with a brain tumor, I went on the same SSRI. It helped. Now that things are a bit more stable, I've gone off the medicine.

Our grief is a long process that we're dealing with. I'm glad that the SSRI was an option, because the drug doesn't supress emotions or dope people up. But it does lower anxiety from crazy-bad to "I can handle this bad."


I wish I could have just written poetry for a year.


If your last chlorestorol test was good and you eat well & exercise, you are probably doing well, and don't need to panic.

Although it really is a good idea to get a check-up every year.

go get those tests! :)
/ end nagging


They tried to fool nature with hormone replacement for women, until they finally studied long-term results. I think the same thing will happen with many of the new drugs. Long-term use of psychiatric drugs, especially for children, has to be harmful.

Science uderstands very little about the brain, or the body. Anti-depressants do not cure a disease or restore balance, they just trick the brain. That can be helpful to jolt someone out of life-threatening depression, but it cannot be healthy for long-term use.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs, also, do not cure or restore balance. Artery disease results from an unnatural lifestyle -- the arteries become damaged and inflamed, and cholesterol-buildup is part of the body's attempt to patch them. Plaque and artery-narrowing is preferable to bleeding to death.

How can cholesterol-lowering drugs heal artery disease? It doesn't make sense.

Heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke result from the unnatural American lifestyle. We have to compromise and go along with nature's requirements to some extent.


Heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke result from the unnatural American lifestyle.

For the record, there also are very strong genetic predispositions to them. Even people who live reasonably healthy lives can get them -- they may need to lead more drastically curtailed lives (like the Pritikin program) to protect themselves without drugs, but it can be done. Drugs are a shortcut in that case, and shortcuts have their price.

geoduck, thanks for the example of the helpfulness of SSRIs in getting through (not suppressing) grief. I don't want to be a fanatic about this. The fact remains that we have neither the time nor the social supports and rituals to grieve the old-fashioned way. We don't cathartically shriek and beat our breasts at funerals, and we don't wear black and get special care and attention for a year. Again, you can see drugs as a shortcut. And it's better than reaching for the bottle or the razor blade when the pain becomes unbearable. In the case of short-term use of SSRIs by adults they don't seem harmful. I agree with real that routinely giving them to children and adolescents with "unfinished brains" is very scary -- look what marijuana evidently does to the teen-age brain.

Thanks geo! Last I knew my cholesterol was 200 but almost half of it was HDL. The one thing wrong with my diet and lifestyle is liking dairy.


" there also are very strong genetic predispositions to them"

But they do not exist in non-Westernized cultures, so it's more than genetics. There may be a small percentage of cases that are caused by a genetic defect, but the American lifestyle is very obviously the main cause.


They do not exist in non-Westernized cultures? Really? No one ever dies of a heart attack or stroke in the rest of the world? I doubt that.

Stroke is very common in Japan -- also probably because of a dietary factor: high blood pressure caused or aggravated by the high sodium content in soy sauce.

One reason people don't die of heart disease or stroke in the non-Western world is they die of something else (infection, e.g.) before they get old enough to die of arterial disease.

I'll grant you that the Western diet and lifestyle are a recipe for heart attack and stroke. I just think you're overstating it.


From what I've read (I would have to search for references, but I have seen it many times), heart disease, diabetes 2, stroke, some forms of cancer, are almost entirely related to the Western lifestyle.


Thanks Amba!

I agree about being cautious with the medicine. My mother's doctor talked about complicated grief - the addition of extreme anxiety due to other circumstances that may have been initiated by the loss of a loved one.

And I would be very, very wary about giving any non-essential medicine to anyone under the age of 21. (we don't know how it affects brain development, and I would err on the side of caution.)

I do think Americans don't respect grief as much as we should - and we look for quick fixes and expect people to "get over it" and move on.

Then again, I know somebody who's mother ended up in a mental hospital after her husband died suddenly. So - there's a line of knowing when to put somebody on medicine versus holding off on that.

My father's side of the family has a genetic predisposition to heart disease & high blood pressure. A great uncle pretty much died of high blood pressure when he was in his 40s. (They didn't have the medicine to control the blood pressure problems, at all.) In fact, all of the men of that generation died rather young. None of my grandmother's brothers made it past the age of 63. They all ate a Italian-American diet common in the 1950s.

In contrast, my Grandfather, who married into that family, ate a more traditional diet of a Calabrian Italian villiager. (fish, beans, lots of vegtables & fruits. The first time my father ever ate butter on bread was in college.) My Grandfather was pretty healthy in terms of chlorestorol & blood pressure, although he did begin to run into trouble in his 70s.

Although there is certainly a genetic predisposition, diet and exercise helps quite a bit. Omega 3 fatty acids are very important and eating a traditional Mediterreanean diet is a great way to stay healthy.

Since 8th grade my parents began cooking a extreme low-salt diet. We also ate lots of fish & fruits and vegetables because of my father's blood pressure and chlorestorol. It had a nice side effect of keeping me and my sister healthy and slender as teenagers! Our house didn't have pizza, sugar, or junk food available for teenagers to eat.


This is a great book on the mediterreanean diet & how to get more of the good omega-3s in your diet. (The omega-3s are the fats in salmon.)

The Omega Diet: The Lifesaving Nutritional Program Based on the diet of the Island of Crete, by Artemis P. Simopoulos, and Jo Robinson.



You didn't mention smoking, which is the main cause of heart disease and stroke. I bet your grandmother's brothers smoked.

"None of my grandmother's brothers made it past the age of 63"


Thanks for the book recommendation, geo. I adore salmon, and was very frustrated to learn that the affordable farm-raised kind is polluted.

Then again, the even more affordable canned pink wild Alaska kind is supposed to be OK.

real -- with one exception (a woman), every heavy smoker we know died in his 60s. The woman died of lung cancer in her 70s. On the other hand, people we know who quit smoking as late as 50 or 60 lived well into their 80s. Smoking very clearly clips a decade or two off your lifespan.

My Yugoslav friend Slobodan who coauthored The Cube is an addicted smoker, like most Eastern Europeans. He just had a baby son, and he's 50. It's a real concern whether he will live to see his kid grow all the way up. I hope he can finally be talked into quitting, but having a baby around was not enough.


You didn't mention smoking, which is the main cause of heart disease and stroke. I bet your grandmother's brothers smoked.

None of the Great Uncles smoked that I knew of. Actually, I don't have a single relative that has smoked, that I am aware of.

I know that Great Uncle Tony didn't smoke. He was the one that died in his 40s with severe blood pressure. They didn't have any of the modern pills to give him, and he ended up dying in the hospital due to complications of the blood pressure. It seems amazing to us now - because we'd never actually die from high blood pressure.

But I agree that smoking is a real dangerous habit.


Then again, the even more affordable canned pink wild Alaska kind is supposed to be OK.

Yum! I also love salmon. (even the Atlantic salmon - which is actually genetically closer to a trout then a real pacific salmon.)

King salmon, Coho salmon - oh my!

This summer I have been grilling salmon on the outdoor grill and then putting the salmon in sandwitches. I love the char-broiled taste.


We make salmon in the broiler (no outdoor grills in Manhattan, unless in penthouses!) after coating and marinating it in a paste of miso with a little soy sauce and lime juice. Probably not low sodium, but omigod, does it taste good.


I should have said that smoking, and diabetes 2, are the main causes of heart disease and stroke. Diabetes 2 (adult onset) is mostly related to refined carbohydrates and lack of exercise.

There are exceptional cases, like that marathon runner who dropped dead. Some individuals cannot survive without blood pressure or cholesterol medicine -- but I think the vast marjority can be cured by lifestyle changes. The drugs do not cure anything. Most MDs have a reductionist approach, and do not consider the whole system. Of course, no one understands the whole system anyway, but at least holistic practitioners try.


Second-hand smoke is another factor. A person who never smoked but died from heart disease may have been constantly exposed to tobacco smoke at home or at work.


For better or worse, Middle Daughter has unleashed incredible academic potential, now that she can concentrate, due to 2nd-generation ADD drugs. However, although they help her concentrate, they also make her feel dull and somewhat depressed, they inhibit her appetite and make it difficult for her to sleep.

She loves summer: eight weeks with no medication. One wonders: as an adult, will she ever be able to incorporate behaviors experienced on Concerta, or will she bounce from one prescription to another, based on what the situation calls for . . . ?


During the summer, does she read, do summer homework assignments or anything else that requires concentration?

The description reminds me a little bit of the tradeoff I've heard about with SSRIs, which is that they somewhat inhibit sexual desire, sensation, and the ability to have an orgasm.


There must be better ways to treat ADD. One cause is inactivity -- expecting boys to sit still all day in school, when they sit in front of TVs and computers at home, is highly unrealistic.

Other causes may involve unnatural toxins in food and the environment. It's very hard to figure out what a child may be sensitive to, but worth it if you can avoid drugs.

Finally, concentration is a skill that can be learned and improved. Why not try meditation and martial arts, for example?

If I had a kid with ADD I would try everything before resorting to drugs. You do not know the long-term effects. Your MD may dismiss your fears but remember -- MDs don't know the long-term effects any more than we do.


Caveat Emptor

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