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Archive for June 28th, 2022

Make Your Body Produce More ‘Happy’ Hormones: Naturally Boost Dopamine and Serotonin

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Interesting idea and worth a try (because 1) free and 2) easy). Mercey Livingston writes at CNET:

From rising gas prices and surging inflation to the general day-to-day worries of balancing work and life, there’s a lot going on in the world that can contribute to high levels of stress and anxiety. But there are also many rituals that bring me happiness: that first sip of coffee in the morning, cuddles with my kitten, journaling each day on my patio and getting some exercise. Now more than ever, I’m leaning into these small practices that make a difference in my day.

While a cup of coffee won’t change whether you feel truly fulfilled, in uncertain times, there’s value in boosting your mood when you can.

There are four main hormones (a type of chemical your body makes) that trigger feelings of happiness, and each chemical is connected to specific events or rewards. Understanding these chemicals and how they work can help you figure out even small ways to feel better amid such a stressful time.

To explain exactly how these “happiness” chemicals work, I spoke to Loretta Breuning, founder of the Inner Mammal Institute and author of Habits of a Happy Brain.

Happy chemicals: The secret to a happy brain

Almost everything that makes you feel “happy” is linked to one of the four happiness hormones: dopamine, serotonin, endorphin and oxytocin. Here are some ways you can boost them naturally.


The hormone dopamine is associated with motivation and reward. It’s why you feel gumption when you set an exciting or important goal, and why it feels good to reach that goal. On the flip side, if you have low dopamine (which experts say can occur with depression), it can explain feelings of low motivation or loss of interest in something you used to enjoy.

“Approaching a reward triggers dopamine. When a lion approaches a gazelle, her dopamine surges and the energy she needs for the hunt is released. Your ancestors released dopamine when they found a water hole,” Breuning says. “The expectation of a reward triggers a good feeling in the mammal brain, and releases the energy you need to reach the reward.”

How to boost dopamine:

There are some not-so-healthy habits that increase dopamine like drinking caffeine, eating sugar or taking certain recreational drugs. But you can find ways to kick this hormone up without turning to potentially unhealthy or addictive substances.

“Embrace a new goal and take small steps toward it every day. Your brain will reward you with dopamine each time you take a step. The repetition will build a new dopamine pathway until it’s big enough to compete with the dopamine habit that you’re better off without,” Breuning says.

You may already have goals set around your career, work or how much money you’d like to make. But don’t forget personal goals. Committing to a rewarding hobby or sport can be just as gratifying as professional goals. Don’t just set a few big goals that will take longer to complete — also adopt shorter-term goals so you stay motivated.

“Set a short-run, long-run, and middle-term goal so you will always be approaching one when another is blocked. Focus on things you have control over and don’t wait for others to set your goals for you,” Breuning says.


Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

28 June 2022 at 1:36 pm

Paranoia on Parade: How Goldbugs, Libertarians and Religious Extremists Brought America to the Brink

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Dave Troy writes a deeply researched and disturbing article in the Washington Spectator:

(Complete Bibliography and Endnotes for Paranoia on Parade can be found in this post following the conclusion of the article.)

“We are choked with news but starved of history.”—Will Durant

The seeds of the January 6, 2021, insurrection can be traced back to the early 1900s, when industrialists concerned with the erosion of their wealth and power attempted to control the currency and restrict government spending. Later these forces, in alignment with America Firsters, aggrieved veterans, and antisemitic splinter groups that mirrored various features of European fascism, including white supremacists, rallied to oppose Roosevelt and the New Deal.

These same elites, their derivatives, and a revolving cast of con artists, energy and tech entrepreneurs, and political extremists would repeatedly convene over the following one hundred years in a concerted attempt to undermine the authority of the U.S. government and oppose social democracy and the democratization of American life.

Roosevelt’s presidency began tumultuously and with a series of shocks that took even his supporters by surprise. Just 36 hours after taking office, at 1 a.m. on Monday, March 6, 1933, Roosevelt suspended all banking transactions, effective immediately. He issued an emergency proclamation that shut the country’s banks down for a full week, in part to prevent hoarding of gold and silver. 1 A month later, on April 5, 1933, he issued Executive Order 6102, which mandated that all gold be turned in to the federal government, outlawing private reserves. 2

These two actions shocked wealthy industrialists who had expected that Franklin Delano Roosevelt, of patrician background and “one of their own,” would address the challenges posed by the Great Depression in a way that would somehow coddle their interests. Their sense of betrayal was evident when Roosevelt sought to pay for his “New Deal” programs by taking the country off their sacred gold standard.

The gold standard, the practice of pegging the value of the dollar to a fixed amount of gold, had been the subject of political debate for decades. Advocates argued that it kept the government honest and constrained spending; a strict adherence to the gold standard kept politicians from pursuing expensive policies and wars simply by keeping them from spending money they didn’t have. 3 In 1933, dollars could be redeemed for gold at a price of $20.67 per ounce, 4 and the government was obligated to produce it upon demand. But there was not enough gold in reserve to redeem all dollars for gold, and that especially would not be the case after the Federal Reserve authorized the debt needed to finance the New Deal.

Wealthy industrialists believed the gold standard helped them keep the government under their control. Roosevelt’s abandonment of it directly attacked both their wealth and their power, and they felt they were being asked to pay for programs for the unlucky and unthrifty.

Right-wing veterans groups align with big business

Veterans of the Great War also felt betrayed. In 1932, having been promised benefits that would not be paid until 1945, and concerned about inflation (uncertain they would get paid in dollars that were worth anything), veterans organized a so-called “Bonus Army” demonstration in Washington, D.C., complete with tent encampments. Herbert Hoover eventually persuaded Gen. Douglas MacArthur to run them off, killing and injuring many participants in the process. Disgusted with Hoover’s disregard for their service, the powerful voting bloc, consisting of about one-sixth of the voting public, pledged their support to Roosevelt. 5

So their surprise was palpable when, on March 20, 1933, Roosevelt passed the Economy Act, which dramatically reduced their benefits in the name of trying to balance the federal budget. 6 Veterans groups were livid, particularly the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which came out against FDR’s actions and demanded restitution from Congress. 7

But Roosevelt settled on the New Deal and enacted it decisively and without delay. This “big bang” set into motion a spectrum of aligned anti-Roosevelt forces, coalescing around a few key groups and individuals.

The American Legion, a veterans organization, was founded in 1919 and funded in part by Grayson M.P. Murphy, a banker affiliated with J.P. Morgan. While the group was ostensibly designed to advocate for the interests of veterans, it also had a secondary role as a union-busting organization. 8 Members were reportedly issued baseball bats and encouraged to use them if they saw signs of union activity at their industrial workplaces. 9 The Legion, which, with a membership of about one million, dwarfed the much smaller, 150,000-member VFW, was more concerned with the interests of big business and had the conservative, moneyed leadership to match. 10

Maj. Gen. Smedley D. Butler, a celebrated war hero, attracted large audiences advocating for veteran bonuses at VFW events. 11 According to Butler, he was approached by Gerald MacGuire on behalf of Grayson M.P. Murphy, to speak in favor of a return to the gold standard at an American Legion convention in the fall of 1933. Butler, suspicious of the Legion’s ties to big business, declined the invitation and a substantial cash offer; incensed, he also claimed that industrialists connected to Murphy and MacGuire intended to enlist veterans in an effort to overthrow Roosevelt in the name of the restoration of the gold standard. 12

Murphy helped to seed another related organization, the American Liberty League, serving as its treasurer. 13 Made up of various wealthy industrialists, including . . .

Continue reading.

For a three-part audio version of the article, with commentary, see this post.

Written by Leisureguy

28 June 2022 at 9:52 am

Love Bombs and the SR-71 slant

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An extraordinarily good lather this morning, thanks to overloading my Maggard Razors 22mm brush with PA’s Love Bombs. When I applied the loaded brush to my face, it felt as though I was coating it with shaving cream. 

Twice I added water to the brush and worked that into the soap on my face, and soon I had a superb lather. Of course, the quality of the lather was also helped by: 1) the CK-6 formula and 2) the fragrance that wafted from the lather.

The fragrance

Dark Chocolate, Rose, Rosewood, Bergamot, Tea, Orange, Lemon, Black Pepper, Ginger, Palo Santo, Vetiver, Cedar, Tobacco, and Rose Absolute.

The CK-6 formula (detailed description)

Potassium Stearate, Glycerin, Potassium Cocoate, Aqua, Potassium Kokumate, Sodium Lactate, Potassium Shea Butterate, Potassium Castorate, Sodium Stearate, Potassium Cocoa Butterate, Potassium Avocadoate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Theobroma Grandiflorum (Capuaçu) Butter, Astrocaryum (Murumuru) Seed Butter, Platonia Insignis (Bacuri) Seed Butter, Parfum [Fragrance]

The Holy Black’s SR-71 slant’s head is a Merkur 37 clone, but the hefty handle is their own idea, and on the whole it works well. The heft and diameter of the handle makes it feel somewhat stubby, but in fact it is the same length as the handle of the Merkur 37.

Three passes left my face perfectly smooth and comfortable, and a splash of Love Bombs aftershave (with a couple of squirts of Hydrating Gel) finished the job.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Vanilla Jasmine: “A balanced blend of black, green and oolong teas, with an enticing aroma of vanilla, jasmine and magnolia.”

And the iced tea this afternoon will be Murchie’s Lavender Gelato: “a Rooibos-based Lavender Earl Grey.” Ingredients: Rooibos, lavender flowers, blue cornflowers, orange peel, natural and artificial flavouring

Written by Leisureguy

28 June 2022 at 8:50 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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