It is that time of year again.

Spo-fans know I enjoy reading Tarot. All Hallow’s eve is the best time of the year to consult the cards about life, love, and health.

If you fancy a Hallowe’en Tarot consultation, leave in the comment your name and email address (if I don’t have it).  Tell me too if you want a “general reading” or do you have a more specific question.

I will consult the cards on All Hallow’s Eve and tell you what they say !



This evening I saw The National Theatre Co. production of “Frankenstein”.  The iconic images of Dr. Frankenstein and his Creature have worked into our Psyches as modern archetypes. They capture the archetype of The Nemesis or Soul-mate.

Sometimes people say the have found their Soul-mate in their mate or lover. This saccharin version of the archetype makes Urs Truly gag. The story of Frankenstein captures the true archetype of The Soul-mate. Think of the person you can’t stand, intertwined with your life (to your great regret), who gets up your nose like no other, who makes you highly uncomfortable.  That my dears is your true Soul-mate. They capture your Shadow side.

imagesLike Drs. Frankenstein and Jekyll, you may try to run or eradicate your Soul-mate. You wish him gone, erased, or snuffed out. Alas this is not possible; The Soul-mate is part of you. At the end of tonight’s play, the director had Frankenstein and his Creature going off together, alone to the world but each other. It illustrated their intertwined psyches. They even ended up looking alike more than at the beginning of the play.

Sometimes a person destroys himself to destroy the Soul-mate, such as Dr. J and his Shadow Soul-mate Mr. Hyde.

If you need a more modern example, think of Batman trying to destroy The Joker, who mocks him they are one and not much apart.

In the tongue in cheek “Das Barbecu” Wotan and Alberich sing “If not fer you there’d be no Me at all!”

The tragedy of Frankenstein and of denying your Shadow Self  is to do so brings destruction. A few times in the play I wanted to shout out to Doctor F to embrace his creation and accept him as himself.

In life be conscious of The Soul-mate or mates in your life. What are they telling you about yourself? What do they teach you about himself? Are you brave enough to look at your Shadow and say yes, you are part of me?  It is deucedly uncomfortable to do so but vital to your sanity if not your survival.


Ok Spo-fans, here is a blog entry derived from the medical conference. Last weekend I was pow-wowing with my fellow wizards when Albus Dumbledore, M.D. gave out THE “prescription” for mental health and well being. This balsam is based on the following principles:

It gets formidable results.

It has data to support its efficacy. These may seem like ‘no-brainers’ but it is important for me to recommend things evidence-based.

It addresses the mind/body connections using the simplest of interactions

It is measurable. You can record and monitor your adherence.

What you need to do doesn’t cost money, and it doesn’t take too much time in a day.

There are 5 elements:





Social Connection.yellow_five_star_90.jpg

You need do all five elements, like the tips of a five-pointed star. You ‘take your medicine’ daily for thirty days to assess the benefits.

These elements works upon the immune system, your physical well-being, and the brain’s neurochemistry. These systems act as a three-way towards diminishing mental and physical illnesses.

Here is the prescription for what you do daily x 30 days:

Mindfulness – 10 minutes of something (relaxation, yoga, meditation, or sitting with nothing going on).

Exercise – 30 minutes of moderate intensity. If you can’t do this, try walking.

Nutrition – log what you eat every day x 30 days on the guideline of the MIND diet (the MIND diet is best correlated to well-being)

Sleep – practice sleep hygiene techniques for 30 days.

Social Connection – visit and interact with a friend or family member each day for thirty days. Or text or call someone.

A study of patients with depression, anxiety, or pain showed the following after 30 days:

In the mental illness patients: depression improved by 43%; anxiety by 40%; sleep by 29%; general wellness (measured by WHO-5) improved by 60%.

In the pain patients: depression went down by 43%; anxiety by 39%; sleep improved by 29%, and wellness improved by 57%.

These percentages beat anything prescription medications can do. They have less adverse reactions and they address multiple systems/general well-being.

So there is it. Nothing fancy or trendy, but it has the data.

InsanityI want to apologize to Spo-fans: I am editing ten years of entries prior to publishing. Apparently every time I do this WordPress announces I have a new entry, as I am getting comments upon them. While I am pleased as punch people bother to read these chestnuts, but oh the pain it must be to be inundated by batches of entries.  Regrets.

Last night a friend contacted me with a problem. I had not heard from him in a long while; I thought he had forgotten me.  He asked my advice on something. I first approached the problem as a psychopharmacologist but then I tiptoed over to the other side of my humming-bird brain to wake up the sleeping Jungian analyst within me. We worked on dream interpretation. Bulls-eye. This made the difference. He was able to connect some dots to change a doleful situation into one of hope.  He told me I made him feel better, but he made me feel better too. It was comforting to know I still have therapeutic skills, and Herr Doctor Jung’s theories hold Truth. I hope my friend slept better. I sure did.

Today I fly home from my conference. I learned a great deal and I hope to apply it all to better patient care.  I will post some of the choice take-home bits in upcoming posts.

InsanityA few Spo-fan has sent word remonstrating a few posts back I mentioned possible prurient posts about Urs Truly. It is not clear why people want to hear tales about my sordid sides. One writer even accused me as ‘being a tease’. I remember a professor teaching us psychiatric residents ‘Never sleep with your patients; you will only disappoint them”.  This means the actual facts are no equal for the imagined fantasies and expectations. ‘Oh, I thought it would be better than that!”  I will either abstain (pun intended) from scandalous scribbles or make something up. It’s an academic exercise. Scurrilous entries have as much hope getting past The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections as President Obama has appointing a Supreme Court candidate.  But hope is a thing with feathers (whatever that means). Someday…..


The conference I am attending is very good. I am learning about the role of inflammation in mental illness (avoid such), how to read medical report statistics (tedious), and what is it about cannabis (avoid until you are 25 years old). So far I have not seen any Texans, just a lot of psychiatrists. However, my brain is full and my backside is sore; there will be no more lectures for this day.  After I publish this I am going to go bear-bait the pharmaceutical representatives in the exhibit hall, and then I am going to  walk on the River Walk.

One of the lecturers gave out the secret to the treatment for depression/anxiety, stress, pain, Life, The Universe, and Everything. It was just a quick insert at the end of the breakfast lecture. The panacea for all ills is worth a separate entry, so I will do it later. He told us to tell as many people as we could.

Gads, but I hate being alone in hotels. I wish Someone was here. Better yet, I wish I was home. Last night he went with some at-work chums to watch the Rocky Horror Show at the bar – jolly good fun. Tonight he hears Shostakovich #7 and I am mad-jealous. I’ve waited years to hear this symphony and its my dumb luck I am out of town. Despite me being in a brave new city I suspect I am turning in early this evening. I didn’t get enough sleep.  I fly all the way here and promptly fall asleep in lecture hall.


Last night’s sleep was ruined because of my reading. I am reading a non-fiction piece about a team of hikers who got lost in the Russian woods and when their bodies were discovered the campsite was quite a puzzle, a mystery never solved with satisfaction. The theories range from UFOs to the hikers going bezerk like “The Shining”.  It’s a page turner – and hardly conclusive for falling asleep alone in a dark strange room. Tonight I am going to reread today’s lecture notes on P-values and how to calculate The Number to Treat – I should be asleep in an instant.

texas-flagI am packing  this evening to fly to San Antonio tomorrow, to pow-wow with my fellow wizards at a medical conference. It will be my first time in Texas. (1) I feel like Margaret Meade going to the Bantus to observe tribal behavior.

In my life I’ve met only a few Texans; most of my knowledge about the state is from internet (liberal) news sites. I have the impression I will be among Bible-thumping, gun-slinging, GOP-worshiping Protestants. Poor Texas! According to The Weather Channel they freeze to death in winter, are blown away by tornados in spring and hurricanes in the fall, and in summer has more humidity than a steam room.  I wonder what Texans are really like. Perhaps I shan’t see any true Texans for I will be ensconced in a swanky hotel for 2-3 days.

I have a fancy to skip class and visit the Alamo, but I have my doubts. Unlike most Americans, I know some history. The story of the Alamo is a complex tale, the  accumulation of years of Spanish-Mexican-American tensions. The Alamo is not a simple black vs. white, good vs. bad, us vs. them story. (2)  I worry if I dare doubt the dogma some outraged person in the tour group will shoot me on the spot. (3)

Perhaps I will just stay safely indoors at the Hyatt and eat BBQ. The few Texans I know loudly boast BBQ from Texa is better than anywhere else (4).

Another ticklish topic I shall eschew is the subject of Texas cessation. I’ve heard rumors The Lone Star State wants to leave the USA and have another go at being a Republic. I don’t know what percentage of Texans actually want this. Interestingly I don’t hear what percentage of the other 49 wish to vote Texas off the island, as it were. (5)

Anyway, I am sure to keep Spo-fans abreast of the news as I vagabond about Texas.

I promised Someone I would not bring home any cowboy things.



1- In 2005 when we moved to Arizona we drove through the top part of Texas, but I slept through it.

2 – In the case of the Alamo, brown vs. white

3- The Alamo website instructs men to remove their hats when visiting, as if it were a sacred place, like a church. Same website assures me is OK for men to carry around a gun.

4- Come to think of it, they boast everything is better in Texas.

5- I am for all for succession if Texas take Mr. Cruz with them.

My amateur effort at housecleaning last weekend got me thinking about possessions, specifically, the lack of them. Concrete reasoning suggested to me the fewer objects I have the less I have to clean. Like the changing tide, my inner-Martha is on the wane and my inner-Angela ascends. It is high-time to throw things out.

I was recently reminded the average household has tens of thousands (!) of items under its roof, most of them doing no good. The speaker on the subject suggested a discarding one thing per day for a month. This will hardly put a dint in the amount of debris but it will give you a good feeling for having thrown out some rubbish. This virtuous habit could continue until the house is resembles a Martha Stewart photo:



My training in the treatment of OCD says the enemy to purging one’s provenance is the pernicious philosophy “Just in Case”.  You look at the box brimming with old cassette tapes, cords to who-knows-what, and clothes unworn in since the 80s, and you conclude to keep all of it –  ‘just in case’ – someday you may want them. The chances of this, of course, are nil. OCD patients are taught the “30 rule”: if you can replace a potential tosser with a new one purchased for $30 dollars OR you can drive less than 30 minutes to a store to get a replacement than the said item is toast.

Much of OCD hoarding focuses on throwing out unneeded things but not much is said about the new things flowing into the house. One must be always on guard for nefarious items creeping slowly in and accumulating until you are drowning in unnecessary plastic objects and refrigerator magnets.

In the House of Spo (and Someone too) there is no lack of unused items; we could fill the Goodwill bins with our discards.

I am going to take up the thirty day once a day throw-out challenge – if I can for Someone is a bit of a Just-in-Case type of guy. It would be just my dumb luck to discard the moss-covered three-handled family gredunza only to have Someone suddenly want it and ask its location. I think I will start in the garage with the snow shovel or the inutile walk-man. Even my inner-Martha won’t object.


house-cleaning-11688-570x403I woke Sunday morning to see the sunlight reveal a thick layer of dust on the dresser clock and the dresser as well. I couldn’t recall when last the house was cleaned. Someone was to work all day, so I decided to spend this day of rest doing some housecleaning. By 6PM I was quite tired –and the house was only half cleaned. I am not experienced in housecleaning. I suspect someone with experience can do this in a fraction of the time and much better. Being an autodidact is nice but I felt gipped of a weekend. Someone says he will clean the other half of the house on Tuesday. By then the first half will have started to collect more dust. This stuff never ends.

I hoped in my industry to have found a missing blue sock. I have the other one; it’s been floating around without its fellow for some time. I keep putting it back in the laundry hoping time/space and dryer will magically reunite them but no such luck. As a consolation prize I found several coins under some appliances. Alas, the total is not enough to purchase as new set of socks, which is Someone’s recommendation.

I unplugged the icebox freezer for it had accumulated enough frost to do so. Happily nothing was lost. All its contents fitted nicely into the new fridge. In among the frozen chicken breasts and mystery meats were several Tupperware containers of frozen something-or-others. I had completely forgotten about them. I should label these things for my system  of I will remember what this is” has been a complete failure.

Although I was quite pooped, I had the mild satisfaction the house is better than it was. Some sinister-sized dust bunnies were evicted from under the bed. One can no longer write naughty words in the dust on the coffee table. I suppose with practice I will improve my productivity but I think it is high-time to put my foot down and hire a maid or butler or somebody – anybody – to do this for me.



For sometime now my back has been intensely stiff and my fingers sore. The differential diagnosis list is long (1) but there is one possibility I thought of only this morning. I have not taken CoQ10 for a few weeks. Maybe the snake oil supplement really does work after all.

Urs Truly is very skeptical of over-the-counter supplements, herbals remedies, and nostrums.  The same people who demand purity and quality spend billions of dollars on products with no indication and no regulation. Patients continually announce they are starting some sort of fad remedy their friend is taking. Why? ‘to be healthy’  What’s in it? Don’t know.  Nearly always they take it for awhile, become bored with it, stop it (with no overt benefit) and go onto another one.

I use The Spo rules when considering remedy, whether prescription, herbal, or supplement:

1- Why am I taking this? (is there a specific goal). 

2- How am I going to measure its success?  (other than just feel better)

3- How long do I take it before I determine it is a bust and stop wasting my money. 

If these three questions can’t be answered/measured, the chances of staying on something is not good.

Which gets back to the CoQ10.

My internist in the 90s suggested I take it when I started medication for high cholesterol. He stated the statin would deplete my body of its CoQ10, enough to support taking a supplement of such. Normally I pounce and ask where is the data to support this as coQ10 is very expensive; I didn’t want to shell out mega-bucks for rubbish. But this was coming from the physician, so I assumed his advice was good.

I’ve been on the supplement for decades. Every time I buy another bottle I wonder if it is worth it. Under the adage ‘if it is working don’t tinker with it” I have kept it going. The successor doctors never said to stop it. (2)

Having no time to get to Costco provided me with a hiatus off of coq10. For a few weeks I had forgotten about it other than when packing the weekly pill box.  As stated, in the past week I’ve gotten a lot of aches and pains – due to lack of coq10?

I should buy another bottle and see if there is a correlation. (3)

Until I get my lazy self to Costco I may try some simpler remedy: stretching. Now there’s a thought. It reminds me of a recent patient who announced she was going to take some sort of monkey gland concoction for weight loss when I thought ceasing stuffing herself would work better.


(1) Mosquito-borne illness, tertiary syphilis, exposure to colder air, and old age.

(2) A trade secret: when a doctor hears a patient is taking a supplement they usually keep silent on the subject. Unless there is a danger or a drug interaction, most docs know patients like taking supplements; it makes them feel good to do so. So why tell them there is no evidence to support its worth? The placebo effect is a a powerful thing indeed.  Let’s not knock it.

(3) Of course, if the muscle stiffness is from the pravastatin without Coq10 then another experiment is to stop the statin.  I feel sheepish to do so as it is without MD approval. My patients do this all the time and it makes my eyes cross. I don’t want to be a bad patient.

1 – What is your favorite movie to see at Halloween?

“The Haunting”. It is a tribute to the truism less is better. Is the house haunted or is it all part of people’s paranoia? No monster; no blood. Just the uncanny fear something is in the hall……

2- What was your favorite Hallowe’en costume as a child?

I have always went with the scary “death” costumes like skeletons or specters, keeping in touch with the original notion this was a day for being in touch with the dead.

3- Given enough money what would be your fantasy Hallowe’en costume?

Pan, with the goat legs and horns and all. I would play the pan flutes and evoke erotic desire in all who hear me.

4 – What is your favorite Hallowe’en candy?

Out of nostalgia, I like Sweet Tarts. Nowadays I prefer gummi-bears. I do not like coconut. Toffee-flavored penny sweets are right out.

5 – What is your supernatural fear?    Possession by evil spirits.

6 – Your ‘creepy-crawlie’ fear?   Tarantulas!

7 – Your ‘that’s gross” fear?    Trypophobia.  It makes me cringe!

8 – Have you ever heard a ghost or heard something go bump in the night?

Once upon a time when I lived in Chicago I awoke at 2AM to a very loud explosion from downstairs. My first thought was someone had smashed a window or shot a gun in the house, it was that loud. I ran downstairs to investigate. Nothing was out of place or askew. Even the cats were asleep as if nothing had happened.

9 -Are you a traditionalist or a creative carver of you Jack-o-Lantern?

I carve several pumpkins each year. One must have a scary face to frighten away the bad spirits. The others are creative, and getting more and more artistic as the years progress. I’ve been pleased with my artwork. However, Arizona living may stop this. Pumpkins shrivel literally overnight and the details go quickly. I may have to stay with simple patterns now.

10 – Do you know have a favorite ghost story?      Yes, I do. The Upper Berth

11 – Do you know someone who is “Anti-Halloween”?

I used to work with a woman who would not decorate her area as the others, nor would she even touch the candy and treats brought into the office. Even the trail-mix with candy corn was off-limits. I give her credit. She did not explain or defend herself, nor did she execrate others. It was a mere ‘no thank you’ – good for her!  I guess her strict Protestant sect thought it all Satanic.

12- Do you decorate the house at Hallowe’en?

As a kid I used a lot of store bought plastic stuff. Now I channel Martha Stewart. The inside and out of the house is tasteful but lavish.  My favorite decoration is to open a pumpkin from the bottom, clean it out, and drill it all over with holes. Then insert a light bulb. The dotty glow is both spooky and whimsical.

13- What do you want on your Tombstone?       “Finally Stopped Worrying”

For fun here is one of my favorite Halloween tunes from my youth. I worry now if it  has racist overtones. But as a boy I thought it innocent and absolutely delightful.  

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