Tag Archives: Comm

Freaky Friday: Bully Brains

by Richard

This is actually kind of scary. We know that being bullied makes for some big-time backlash for the young dudes who get bullied. What we didn’t know until recently is that being bullied also makes some physical changes in the brains of those kids who get bullied.

Yeah, that’s right. Young dudes who get bullied actually suffer permanent changes to the structure of their brains because of the bullying.

If we thought there was a reason to crack down on bullying in schools before, brother, you’d better believe there’s more of a reason now.

They lurk in hallways, bathrooms, around the next blind corner. But for the children they have routinely teased or tormented, bullies effectively live in the victims’ brains as well — and not just as a terrifying memory.

Preliminary evidence shows that bullying can produce signs of stress, cognitive deficits and mental-health problems.

Now University of Ottawa psychologist Tracy Vaillancourt and her colleagues at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario plan to scan the brains of teens who have been regularly humiliated and ostracized by their peers to look for structural differences compared with other children.

“We know there is a functional difference. We know their brains are acting differently, but we don’t know if it is structural as well,”said Vaillancourt, an expert in the biology of bullying.

According to Vaillancourt, she finds changes to the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory.

Bullied young dudes have already been found to score lower on tests that measure verbal memory and executive function, a set of skills needed to focus on a task and get the job done. Mental-health problems, such as depression, are also more common.

Come on, dudes. This is ridiculous. We need to have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying in schools that’s actually enforced all the time, every time.  Kids need to feel safe when they’re at school, trying to learn.

I mean, come on. How can you learn if you’re constantly looking over your shoulder, fearing the next push or the next time someone starts name calling?

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Freaky Friday: Rubbed The Right Way

by Richard

I figured it was time I took my own advice.

About a month or so ago, I wrote about how scientists had been doing some actual scientific research on some good stuff. They’d been looking at massages and found that getting a good massage actually altered your body chemistry, leading to a reduction in cortisol, the stress hormone.

So I went out and booked myself a massage. Now I have only one question: Why in the flark did I wait so long to get a good massage?

After an hour of subtle, delicious pressure, I was barely able to get off the table. I felt that relaxed. Plus, you know, getting rubbed with oil. When is that ever a bad thing?

Anyway, I went to see a certified massage therapist in the Charlotte area named Rachael Schrader. First a disclaimer: I’m not writing about her because I expect to get free massages out of this. I didn’t even tell her about the blog here. I just really enjoyed the massage and want to tout its benefits to you dudes.

I will say I’m not all that enamored of the New Agey stuff that comes along with the massage, but I’m willing to put up with it if it leads to me getting a great rub down. And I did get a great rub down.

First I got asked to disrobe to my comfort level. For some people, that’s stripping down to their birthday suit. To me, that was keeping my suit on. Well, I did strip down a bit, but I stayed (barely) clothed. That’s me, though.

So Rachael oiled up her hands and got to work. I don’t know how she did it, but she found every tight muscle in my body and rubbed, poked and prodded there until those muscles finally unclenched. There was some pain involved, but it was really worth it. The feeling as those muscles finally let go was magnificent.

I really can’t say enough good things about the experience. At the end, Rachael asked if I wanted to schedule another massage, but I demurred. I was floating somewhere above cloud 10.7 and wanted to wait a bit before deciding, not wanting to spend more money based solely on the euphoria I felt in the moment. Well, I waited long enough.

I’m going back. If you can, I recommend you start getting this done. Find a good massage therapist and get into the rub.

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More Than A Rooster

by Richard

So, Zippy the Monkey Boy and I roll up into the bustling metropolis of Conway, SC, and the first thing that comes to my mind is to roll down the windows and listen for the sound of dueling banjos. ‘Cause, dude, if I hear the first string pluck, I was so far gone out of there they wouldn’t even know we’d been there.

Fortunately for us, the hard-pounding, deep, throbbing (you know, I might have been away from home and the loving comfort of the arms of She Who Must Be Hugged for a bit too long) bass line coming from the car’s speakers drowned out any unelectric stringed instruments.

The hotel I’d picked on the internet was located off the side of the, and I used this word advisedly, highway all by itself. I mean, it was the Bates Motel done in post-modern Soviet bloc architecture. Still, the room was air conditioned and relatively clean. Good news.

Now here’s where I talk about how dumb I can be. I’d looked up Coastal Carolina University and knew it was relatively near the beach and located in Conway. What I didn’t do was to look about 15 miles east. Turns out, the university is right next to Myrtle Beach. Motto: Just like Daytona, only smaller and with fewer redeeming values. Still, Zippy the Monkey Boy and I did have a good time wandering around and seeing what was what. But more on that later. It’s long past time to talk about the tour.

To start with, the campus is small. Beautiful, but small. Which was not a bad thing. With only 8,000 or so students, it was a good size. Zippy was immediately taken with the scenery, the buildings and the fact that the university actually owned it’s very own barrier island set aside purely for marine science research for the students. Now that got him excited.

I was excited as well, but mostly because I’d just hit the part in the CCU brochure that talked about how much it cost to send an out-of-state little dude there for school. It’s, well, it’s a bit of a shock. Still, I did like that they showed some extensive work on possible scholarships offered there. These merit scholarships are given automatically to kids who are accepted and meet certain marks on the SAT, GPA and other abbreviations and suchlike. Something to shoot for.

What impressed me most, however, was the size of the dorm rooms. Those things had 10-foot ceilings and three beds inside each two-person room. I know. I was depressed at first, as well. I figured they were going to be stuffing three dudes in a two-dude room. Turns out, they offer the extra bed as a (and, no, I’m not making this up) guest bed. Just in case. The students can send them back and get an extra desk if they want.

Our tour guide this time out was fantastic. She was erudite, engaging and did a great job of communicating the enthusiasm she felt for the school.

All in all, it was a great visit and leaves Coastal Carolina University high up on Zippy the Monkey Boy’s list of schools he’d like to attend. We also learned something new. Coastal Carolina University’s mascot is the Chanticleer. The thing looked like a rooster, but Chanticleer? Never heard of it. So we looked it up. Turns out Chanticleer was a rooster, known from certain fables, mostly those surrounding Reynard the Fox (a Germanic and French folkloric trickster).

And now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

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