Thursday, June 28, 2007

Death Penalty for Schizophrenic Murderer Blocked

Death Penalty for Delusional Murderer Blocked - New York Times

HOUSTON, June 28 — Enforcing its edict against execution of the insane, a split United States Supreme Court today overturned the death sentence of a delusional Texas murderer who insisted he was being punished for preaching the gospel.

In a sharp rebuke to lower courts, the justices ruled 5 to 4 that the defendant, Scott Louis Panetti, was not shown to possess sufficient understanding of why he was to be put to death for gunning down his wife’s parents in 1992...

In a harsh dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas called the ruling "a half-baked holding that leaves the details of the insanity standard for the District Court to work out." He was joined in the minority by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, and Samuel A. Alito Jr...

In an interview with The New York Times last November, Mr. Panetti, clutching verses from scripture, declared, "The devil has been trying to rub me out to keep me from preaching." Until restrained by a guard, he started to strip off his prison uniform to show scars from burns he said were inflicted by demons and healed by President John F. Kennedy with coconut milk after the sinking of his torpedo boat in World War II.

Folks, this is scary. Even for Texas it's obvious this guy shouldn't be executed. Look at the vote - a 5 to 4 vote with the dissents coming entirely from the conservative side.

We often don't fully realize the long-term impact a president can have. The nominations of radically conservative justices almost allowed this man to die. It would have been a criminal act, and as Americans in our system we would all have been complicit in his death.

Get active. Be an advocate. Demand compassion and tolerance in our elected officials and their appointees. As individuals we CAN make a difference.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Right Stuff

I don't usually get political, but couldn't resist this. This next generation seems to have the "Right Stuff".

From the Omaha World Herald:

When a group of the country's brightest young people visited the White House this week, President Bush talked about how important it is to make hard choices, to step up and lead.

The young scholars couldn't have agreed more.

One stepped right up and handed the president a folded piece of paper.

It was a handwritten letter signed by 50 of the scholars, urging the president to stop human rights violations relating to detainees such as those held at Guantánamo Bay.

"If nothing else, it was an opportunity to show the president that we had taken to heart what he said about conviction and making the tough decisions," said one of the presidential scholars who signed the letter.

The handwritten letter said the students "believe we have a responsibility to voice our convictions."

"We do not want America to represent torture. We urge you to do all in your power to stop violations of the human rights of detainees, to cease illegal renditions, and to apply the Geneva Convention to all detainees, including those designated enemy combatants," the letter said.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Was halfway watching the TV show "Without A Trace" tonight, and an ad came on about Bipolar Disorder. Mark Harmon is doing a public service announcement for and says it takes an average of 10 years to diagnosis bipolar disorder. He says that's 10 years of needless suffering.

Here's a link:

A tasteful ad, I was glad to see it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tuesday Shorts

This is a departure, I usually do Friday Shorts. But I didn’t have much to say Friday.

Yesterday was a difficult day. First, so much excitement Sunday night with the kids home for Father’s Day, I had a hard time falling asleep. Normally half an Ambien knocks me out. But last night I was up every 45 minutes, taking half an Ambien each time. I think it was after 2 when I took my last one, and 4 or so before I finally fell asleep. I slept through my workout, and at 7:00 AM when Karen finally woke me I was really dizzy. I stumbled off to work, and finally about lunch time I was doing a little better.

Then here at work we find out a coworker was killed in a water related accident over the weekend. She was the sweetest girl, between her and her husband they had several children. A very bad atmosphere around here. Isn’t it funny that even though I didn’t know her that well, I’m still affected by it. I can’t stop myself from imagining the fear that must have been felt by her and the pain of her family.

But a positive note – Kyle has moved back in with us! We were so worried about him where he was living. One of their roommates was violent, and their next door neighbor liked to shoot up his house with a gun. The neighbor OD’d the other day, but the roommate is still as violent as ever. I’m glad they’re out of that environment. Kyle now has computer access again at our house, so he will probably be reading this. Leave a comment and say hello to him!

Speaking of Kyle, he gave me a Father’s Day card that was the funniest thing I’ve seen in years. A very large man standing in sand, water behind him. He’s holding a huge fish. No caption on the front, but you open the card and it says…
“I was looking for an appropriately sentimental card, but kept coming back to the fat guy holding the big fish. Happy Fathers Day!”

I received a call this morning to set up an interview for a job I applied for last week. I’m a little surprised, the first interview is with the HR person and an executive VP. Granted, it’s a smaller organization, but they must really be motivated to bring in a VP on the initial interview. I’m going to need to swing by the Bipolar and Me blog for a refresher. Kansas Sunflower is a professional recruiter by trade. In amongst the other stuff on her blog, she has some great tips for job hunters.

Well, back to work. I’m going to have to really work at stability for the next few days. I’m out of my routine, I missed workouts the last 2 days, I’ve been sleeping very little, then the tragedy at work. This scenario has depression written all over it.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

This Isn't So Bad

When rapid cycling brings me back to this level, life is very good indeed.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Workout Music

This is an interactive post, so everyone get ready to jump in with a comment here.

I want great workout music. Songs that get you moving, that raise your heartrate, that will move you to run or bike that extra mile. And not just for workouts, music that will motivate us to cut grass, clean the house, keep us awake at work, and so forth. I want a variety of music, across all genres.

So lay a few of your favorites on me. Let's put together a playlist of workout music we can all draw on.

Here's my current workout playlist, it leans heavily to Americana. I need more variety:

Shame, Shame, Shame Aerosmith
Stop Messin Around Aerosmith
Dollar In My Pocket Big House
Whatever Happened To My ... Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Green Onions Buchanan, Roy
Supernova Buchanan, Roy
100 Flower Power Maximum Cracker
Get Off This Cracker
I Ride My Bike Cracker
Let's Go For A Ride Cracker
Movie Star Cracker
Highway Star Deep Purple
LA Woman Doors
Killing Floor Electric Flag
Soul Searchin' Electric Flag
Castanets Escovedo, Alejandro
Would I Lie To You Eurythmics
Gangsta Trippin Fatboy Slim
The Rockafeller Skank Fatboy Slim
Weapon of Choice Fatboy Slim
Pay the Alligator Flatlanders
Track 8 Ford, Robben
East to the West Franti, Michael & Spearhead
Hello Bonjour Franti, Michael & Spearhead
Yell Fire Franti, Michael & Spearhead
Feel Good Inc. Gorillaz
Midnight Train Guy, Buddy
Please Don't Drive Me Away Guy, Buddy
Circle Back Hiatt, John
Everybody Went Low Hiatt, John
How Bad's The Coffee? Hiatt, John
Rock Back Billy Hiatt, John
Slow Turning Hiatt, John
Something Wild Hiatt, John
Tennessee Plates Hiatt, John
Uncommon Connection Hiatt, John
Mony Mony Idol, Billy
Rebel Yell Idol, Billy
Begin To Wonder Indigenous
Blues This Morning Indigenous
Movin' On Indigenous
Shame Shame Shame Indigenous
You Turn My World Around Indigenous
Are You Gonna Be My Girl Jet
Take It Or Leave It Jet
Bawitdaba Kid Rock
Devil Without A Cause Kid Rock
Forever (Album Version) Kid Rock
Fuck Off Kid Rock
I'm A Dog Kid Rock
Somebody's Gotta Feel This Kid Rock
Hell At Home Landreth, Sonny
The Road We're On Landreth, Sonny
Feel Like I Do Lindell, Eric
Lazy Days Lindell, Eric
Battle Flags Lo Fidelity All Stars
Don't Worry Baby Los Lobos
Senorita Los Lonely Boys
Too Much Stuff (With Delbert McClinton & John Prine) Lovett, Lyle
Get Your Business Straight Magic Slim & The Teardrops
I'm A Bluesman Magic Slim & The Teardrops
Safe From Harm Massive Attack
Choctaw Bingo McMurtry, James
God Is A Real Estate Developer Michelle Shocked
Bleeding Heart Show New Pornographers
Sing Me Spanish Techno New Pornographers
Star Bodies New Pornographers
Twin Cinemas New Pornographers
Shake 'Em on Down North Mississippi Allstars
Can't Stop Ozomatli
Saturday Night Ozomatli
Crackity Jones Pixies
Tame Pixies
Good Times (3 Stroke) Randolph, Robert & The Family Band
I Need More Love Randolph, Robert & The Family Band
Squeeze Randolph, Robert & The Family Band
I'll Fly Away Randolph, Robert, North Mississippi Allstars, John Medeski
Preacher's Daughter Refreshments
The Girl Can't Help It Refreshments
She'll Be So Fine Roomful Of Blues
Filthy/Gorgeous Scissor Sisters
Music Is The Victim Scissor Sisters
Get out of Denver Seger, Bob
Crosstown Traffic (Feat. Robert Randolph) Soulive
Liquored Up And Lacquered Southern Culture on the Skids
The Great Atomic Power Southern Culture on the Skids
All The Time In The World Subdudes
Late At Night Subdudes
My Kickass Life SuperSuckers
The Evil Powers of Rock & Roll Supersuckers
Gin in the Morning Thackery, Jimmy
Detroit Iron Thackery, Jimmy & The Drivers
I'll Believe In You (Or I'll Be Leaving You Tonight) Tragically Hip
The Wherewithal Tragically Hip
Look at Little Sister Vaughan, Stevie Ray
Pride And joy Vaughan, Stevie Ray
Scuttle Buttin' Vaughan, Stevie Ray
The House Is Rockin' Vaughan, Stevie Ray
Baby Please Don't Go Wilder, Webb
Tough It Out Wilder, Webb
Divin' Duck Blues Winter, Johnny
Hustled Down in Texas Winter, Johnny
Rock Me Baby Winter, Johnny
Rollin' and Tumblin' Winter, Johnny
See See Baby Winter, Johnny
The Crawl Winter, Johnny
I Wish Wonder, Stevie
Me And My Bass Guitar Wooten, Victor
Disorder in the House Zevon, Warren
Long Time Coming Zutons


OK, I’ve never experienced anything like this. In the last 3 days I’ve been manic, depressed, and today I’m great. No depression, leaning slightly towards hypomania, but not significantly so. I just feel great. Refreshed, clear head, ready to take on the day.

I’m completely convinced this “yo-yo effect” is due to lowering the daily dosage of Lamictal, my primary maintenance med. About 2 weeks ago I called my pDoc worried about recent memory loss. He recommended lowering the dosage of Lamictal from 200 to 150 mg daily, which I’ve done.

Lamictal is so innocuous, it doesn’t have any kind of narcotic effect, doesn’t cause drowsiness, weight gain, or any side effects I’ve experienced. It works slowly, taking months to really make a noticeable impact to mood. If you don’t get the dreaded Lamictal rash, you won’t even know you’re taking it. But make a significant change in dosage and you’ll experience the deceptively powerful impact of this drug. It’s really pretty scary.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


This HAS to be the result of lowering my med dosage. I woke up this morning and could barely drag myself out of bed. I dragged myself to the gym in order to not impact my routine too much (routine = healthy, lack of routine = trouble), but could hardly do anything. It dawned on me that a depression was setting in.

Can you believe this? From true mania to depression in 2 days. Let's roll the dice and see what tomorrow brings. As fast as my moods have been changing I'll bet my next paycheck it's not depression. I've always cycled rapidly, but this is ridiculous.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Looking Up

The life of a rapid-cycler can be a godsend as often as it is a bitch. While things are not perfect, in fact not even good, they’re not half as bad as yesterday. I went home, applied for 2 new jobs online since my job is a source of anxiety lately, and was in bed by 10. This morning I began my normal routine again, and routine is a HUGE part of keeping me stable.

I’m wondering if part of yesterday’s huge spike was due to lowering my Lamictal dosage about 10 days ago. In order to see if it was a factor in recent memory loss I lowered dosage from 200 to 150 mg daily. This had to be a contributing factor.

In honor of the occasion I’ve changed yesterday’s “crash and burn Calvin” to today’s plain “manic Calvin”.

Thanks to all for your concern, emails, and comments.

Monday, June 04, 2007

True Mania

It’s here, and I’m scared. For me, a true mania is as bad as it gets. Thoughts racing, irritability and anxiety levels through the roof, the littlest thing has me wanting to put my fist through the monitor. I’m not suicidal, but for me nothing brings on self-harm ideation like mania. I have to figure out how to relax and get back into a safe routine. Right now I want to crawl into a bottle of Seroquel and stay there until my mind slows down to a semi-normal level.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday Shorts

I’ve had a rash of hits on the search string "Depaquel". Law and Order must have rerun the episode where they mention this fictional drug. Depaquel is not, to my knowledge, a legitimate medication. The writers most likely got the name from Depakote, and Seroquel, both medications used to treat bipolar disorder.

My current hypomania is hanging in there, and that’s a very good thing. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) could kick in at any time. Every summer depression rolls in and stays until fall. SAD normally impacts people in winter, but there is a small population that gets it in summer. It hasn’t always been this way for me, I’m writing a post for BipolarConnect about this. This yearly pattern is how I was eventually diagnosed. Every summer my wife talked me into seeing the doc about my depression. He always prescribed an anti-depressant, as I expected him to do, and after a few months I always got manic. I finally made the doc listen, and told him the antidepressants weren’t working for me the way that we expected them to work, and we needed to consider bipolar disorder. I knew I had it, but he couldn’t see how I could live into my forties without being diagnosed. But anyway, my next pdoc appointment is in early July, I hope the slide doesn’t start before then. I’m going to ask for an antidepressant, I know they can be taken when another bipolar medication is also being taken.

My last post was a music post, Emmylou Harris doing that haunting story "Red Dirt Girl". I hadn’t heard it for years, and when I heard it a few days ago it struck a chord and I shared it. Today I heard it again on A coincidence? Is a higher power trying to give me a message? Maybe I’m just being reminded to buy my tickets to a show she’s doing in my area later this summer…

Speaking of, their program director and on-air personality Laura Ellen died the other day. KPIG is a California radio station, and a long way from the heartland where I was born, raised, and continue to live. But Laura Ellen always took the time to answer my emails, and was genuinely interested in the shows we got in my area, the artists who played, and the quality of the performances. KPIG is one of the most unique radio stations in the world. They are a commercial station, but are independent, and play a wonderful variety of music ranging from hard rock to hayseed. Check them out for a delightful change-of-pace. When you do, remember Laura Ellen for making that musical treasure possible.

An email flash just came in:
I earn my living in the telemarketing industry, many of you know that and choose to be friends anyway. I’m not actually the person who calls, my accent is too Midwest for that. I work in IS, working on the technical side of the business. But we just received instructions to block all calls to Alabama on Monday, Jefferson Davis’ birthday. Evidently it’s a state holiday. Jefferson Davis was the only president the Confederacy had, from 1861 to 1865, during the civil war. He believed that corruption had destroyed the old Union and that the Confederacy had to be pure to survive. Can someone from south of the Mason-Dixon line convince me that this holiday doesn’t have racial overtones?

For those readers not living in the US, I apologize for all the US geographic references in this post.

I could ramble on forever, but that’s enough for today. Everyone have a great weekend, and let’s be careful out there!