Mental illness: How it can be and how you can help.

The 10 is taking a break this week, but the Negress heard something she’d like to share. So she’s linking to it and perhaps introducing you to the Terry Gross of Canada, Jian Gomeshi. It’s an interview with former NHL goalie Clint Malarchuk, and it’s harrowing. The 10 will return next week. By the way, you can download Q as a podcast from their homepage. The show airs in a truncated form in the States, but if you want all the Canadian bits, you have to download. it’s available as an audio or video podcast.

Clint Malarchuk on Canadian television talking about his book.

Clint Malarchuk on Canadian television talking about his book.

The Negress. The 10. Musicians and Lyrics the Negress Loves.

These days, the Negress has been randomly pulling CDs out of here collection to get through the day at the cube farm. Some of the  words are worth sharing in and out of context. So let’s get to it.

1. Del Amitri. “Drunk In a Band” probably is the best song in terms of putting the true face of the music business in perspective. The Negress has linked to the words because Del Amitri wisely did not make a video for this masterpiece

2. Butch Hancock has written enough songs to fill 18 one-hour cassettes and that was 20 years. As far as the Negress knows, He’s still in Terlingua and still writing. However, “Just A Wave, Not the Water” contains a stunning couplet: “I tried to kill myself but it made no sense/committing suicide in self-defense.”

Here’s Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s version of the song:

3. Kacey Musgraves. While Musgraves has written some very cool songs such as “Your Mama’s Broken Heart” and “Follow Your Arrow,” the Negress loves “Blowin’ Smoke” for every meaning of the phrase. This Texas girl is onto something.

4. Tragically Hip. The Negress is less than secretly in love with Gord Downie and was thrilled to find out the Hip is touring the States beyond the parts that hug the Canadian border (two nights in Chicago. Yay eh?) Anyway, the Negress has had “Little Bones” on a playlist for about a year now. here’s why:

5. John K. Sansom. The Negress works with a bunch of kids drowning in student loans and dreaming of MFA programs, which is just about as productive as dreaming of sugar plums. This song Makes the Negress laugh out loud every time she hears it.

6. Whitehorse. The Negress has sung this band’s praises before but the line that slays her is “I got a woman down from the Park Ridge/Who is finer than sand.”

7. Leon Russell. “If the Shoe Fits” is another encapsulation of an era the Negress caught the tail end of. There are very few things that have changed including the idea of getting greased into a friend’s show. Pay the artists people.

8. Lyle Lovett. Sometimes you can say a lot without saying very much at all. Mr. Lovett (In the interests of full disclosure, the Negress and he crossed paths in Houston a few times). This song is masterful.

9. The Posies. The Negress could have picked at least five songs from this band, but this one kills in so many ways.

10. Calle 13. Prepareme La Cena. This is one the Negress’ favorite songs. She’s included the video here, and a less than reliable English translation of the lyrics for all her monolingual friends.

The Negress. The 10. Questions and Answers.

As one of the Negress’ favorite bands, Calle 13, once rapped, “Hay muchas preguntas y pocos respuestos.” Loosely translated:  there are many questions but few answers. Well, that about sums it up now doesn’t it? So, without further ado, here are some questions that can be answered. You might not like the answers. Too bad. Deal with it.

1. Is there a black community? Of course. The same way there’s a white community. Try replacing the phrase “black community” in any sentence where it comes up with ‘white community.” Told ya.

2. Who buys clothing at Whole Foods? People with way too much cash and a high IQ (Insufferability Quotient). Organic cotton died for your sins.

3. Does everyone want everyone else’s hair? Pretty much.

4. Can you have more than one favorite team in a particular sport? Sure. Just don’t boast about it in a bro-filled bar. Some of those folks were behind the door for most of evolution.

5. Can you be a Christian and believe in science and other enlightened thinking? Absolutely. You can also be a Christian and feel that references to God need to be removed from the money, courtrooms and the Pledge of Allegiance.

6. Are leggings pants? Hell to the no.

7 Should you wear Crocs outside of your home? The Negress has been prescribed Crocs by her podiatrist. She has worn them to the grocery store twice. Next time she gets a misdemeanor arrest.

8. Can you be happy for everyone you consider a friend when they have good news to share? You better be or less you’re not really their friend.

9. Is there an expiration date on TV spoilers? Sure. The Negress figures about two months after each episode airs is a maximum. If you haven’t watched, avoid recaps, discussion pages, Emily Nussbaum etc. For example, the Negress is one and half seasons behind on Sons of Anarchy. She already knows that two major characters have been bumped off and the means by which they met their end. Is she crushed? No. Because she has no idea how we get to each character’s demise so it will still be fun when she finally gets to watch.

10. Are listicles taking over the world? Sure. As soon as they can get cats to let go.

The Negress. The 10. Hockey season.

The Negress is beyond thrilled that her beloved icemen cometh. The NHL season will start any day now, and there’s so much to be excited to bit about  (Finnish goalies!). The Negress remains a Devils fan at heart, but with Patrik Elias and Scott Gomez (Gomer!)  being the last vestiges of the multiple Cups (if you have to ask which Cup, stop reading now.) era, her love is being tested. On the other hand, the Blackhawks are a delightful outfit. They are winning Cups and hearts all over town.

So, she’s decided to have one team per conference, which was a sensible solution. Hockey has its issues — most notably, a terrible approach to substance abuse (Theo Fleury’s book and the case of the late Derek Boogaard immediately come to mind). Also, while she still enjoys baseball, their walling off the early part of the postseason from broadcast-only fans like herself just seems stupid. So, herewith why hockey is awesome.

1. Although a collision sport, hockey has had fewer instances of  chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) than football. Most of those instances are confined to enforcers, a role that is increasingly vanishing since roster spots are to valuable to waste one someone who has no skills beyond landing a punch. (UPDATE: The Negress was feeling pretty good about this sentiment until the Blackhawks had re-signed Daniel “Car Crash” Carcillo. This is a guy who lost a season to a knee injury he got from smashing someone into the boards. Sigh.

2. Hockey is beautiful. It resembles soccer on skates, though the Negress can figure out offside in hockey more easily than in soccer.

3. When she was in New Jersey, the Negress had the privilege to watch Martin Brodeur, the greatest goaltender to put on the pads. The NHL even changed its rules because of this man. There’s a trapezoid behind the goal crease because of him. How many other sports have one player who instigated a rule change?

4. The NHL actually has a concussion protocol that involves someone who is not a team doctor clearing players to play. Even though it cost them dearly, Sid Crosby sat out the better part of a season dealing with post-concussion symptoms. Imagine the NFL sitting Tom Brady down.

5. Wayne Gretzky.

6. The fact that all the players sound like they are Canadian even if they are not. Except for the Europeans.

7. The Stanley Cup went to Chicago’s Pride parade. The league also sanctioned a Canadian TV movie about a gay hockey player; allowing the production to use team uniforms and logos.

8. The fact that the Stanley Cup travels around with the winners and has been left by the side of the road and at the bottom of the swimming pool.

9. Hockey players have been part of a system that is helpful in allowing them to stay grounded. If they go away from home to play for better junior teams, they stay with a host family as opposed a dorm full of entitled jocks. Some rookies live with older players who teach them the ropes on how to behave. The Negress also thinks they are conscious of the fact that they are one knee injury away from the third shift at the GE plant.

10. Because they play outdoors in the snow. Anaheim does not count no matter how many white tarps you put down.

The Negress. The 10. Mental and other illnesses.

With Robin Williams’ suicide, a lot of the Negress’ fellow mental patients came out of the brain chemistry closet to try their very best to help neurotypicals  understand how bad things can get. A lot of folks on a lot of Facebook  timelines offered solace and listening ears. Nice but…

On the physical illness front, people can be just as clueless. Herewith, a primer on how to deal.

1. If someone is depressed enough to be contemplating suicide, in all likelihood you will not be able to stop them. People are especially prone right after going on medication since they usually feel good enough to carry out things they only thought about when they were deeply depressed.

2. Fifteen percent of people with mental illnesses get no benefit from any kind of treatment.

3. Contrary to police procedurals, extravagantly violent variations on schizophrenia are rare.

4. Do not, under any circumstance, offer “alternative” therapies or suggestions from your holistic practitioner, your pal from Spin class or any other random you know. Say you discussed your struggles with maintaining a healthy weight with the Negress. If she recommended meth as a treatment based on the appearance of a neighbor who smelled like a chemical factory, would you go for it? Be advised, the Negress and her fellow chronics have heard just about everything. No thank you.

5. Often chronics are sick of being sick. That offer of a listening ear, while kind, is not necessarily in order. Sometimes the Negress wants to stop checking her blood sugar, go off the Depakote and eat things that will trigger the mother of all Crohn’s “breakthroughs.” You saying, ‘I hear you’ does not help under the circumstances.

6. As for brain chemistry, the Negress  and her fellow bipolars are often riding the raw edge of disaster on a daily basis. Monitoring of moods is constant. Imagine not being able to trust any uptick in energy or joy.

7. If you’ve lost 60 pounds in three months, as the Negress did in the early days of her Crohn’s diagnosis, compliments are not in order.

8. Also, despite idiotic cartoon commercials for drugs to the contrary, depression is not like the cloud that followed Joe Btfsplk around. It can paralyze, stall the onset of adulthood if it goes undiagnosed and all sorts of things. it is not merely being sad and lying around the house in sweatpants.

9. You can live with being hypomanic, but you shouldn’t. The Negress has often wished she could summon hypomania when she has a deadline to meet. This is not to say there are advantages to having unusual brain wiring, but still…

10. Lastly, do your very best not to treat people differently once you learn that they are ill. Sometimes you can figure it out without being told. We chronics have enough to deal with without adding your puppy eyes or veiled questions to the equation.

The Negress. The 10. The Northeast Corridor.

The Negress is back in her old stomping grounds. She’s even headed back to college for stuff she may or may not discuss later. Add friends, good food plus a liaison with New York and what’s not to like? Her alma mater figures in this trip as well as a semi-secret society to which she belongs. So, anyway, here’s the rundown.

1. Compared to Chicago and New York, Boston is on the B-list although it thinks it isn’t.

2. Somerville is cool now. Never dreamed that would happen.

3. Boston seems to remain ethnically challenged. The Negress is not relying on empirical evidence, but her gut memories of the Louise Day Hicks-Pixie Palladino era of local politics are still strong. Also, being on the T and playing Count the Black People did not yield a double-digit result.

4. Apparently, HiFi Pizza and the F&T Deli are no more. A generation of hungry, post-gig musicians weeps.

5.New York City remains awesome and the Bolt Bus, a child of Greyhound, is the best deal going between New York and Boston (not a paid placement). Napping through Connecticut is mandatory.

6. Newark is about to surprise some people. The Negress has two great friends who are now living in a refurbished Art Deco building downtown about seven blocks from City Hall. Other buildings are getting the same treatment and a hotel is being built by the Devils’ arena and Whole Foods will be arriving shortly. The Negress also walked fearlessly from Penn Station to the Ironbound one night. She never would have done that when she worked there.

7. Jersey City is getting foofy. It had to happen. High rises are springing up on every corner, each with a series of bankrupt developers..

8. The Negress is staying with people who are on a  first-name basis with Samuel “Chip” Delaney. She is not worthy.

9. The Negress could go for a grinder and tonic, but then again, maybe not.

10. Finally, she is not sure which Sox are worse.

The Negress. The 10. Things That Do Not Exist.

The Negress apologizes for the tardiness of this week’s list but her energy has been sapped by some strain of viral ickiness that is ravaging the Cube Farm.  Dick Cheney being seen in sunlight and various others babbling in such a way that they obviously are not cursed with self-awareness made the Negress want to compile this list. So, here we go.
1.    Welfare queen. Ronald Reagan rode into the White House on this nonexistent trope.
2.    The Knockout Game. Take a look.
3.    Dick Cheney’s soul. It was removed during his most recent heart procedure.
4.    Ugly babies.
5.    Ugly brides.  All right, the last two go hand in hand. They exist but you cannot share those judgments no matter how much of a hot mess the individuals are. Bite your tongue until it bleeds.
6.    A Chevrolet that makes you salivate. Anyone remember the Chevette and the Lumina? Things have not changed that much.
7.    A wine under $20 that makes you swoon. The Negress has some expertise in this area. She will say that truly awful wines have pretty much gone away (alright, maybe Barefoot and any pink Zin) but there used to be some surprising wines in this category. Not so much anymore.
8.    Dressy Birkenstocks. Many thanks to the fabulous Kate Clinton for this one.
9.    Partners in a relationship who “provoke” domestic violence.  Have a conversation with the hand and get the hell out of there. The Negress understands that some are unwilling to give up a societal position that comes with staying with a batterer. All she can say is take a cue from Robin Givens.
10.    Insurance salespeople with scruples. The Negress wandered through this thicket during the period before she got properly medicated. See Diogenes.