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You might like "Soul Made Flesh," by Carl Zimmer. It's sort of a history of neuroscience. I was fascinated.


I used to feel scared I was going to turn stupid until I read something similar - you can still be creating new neural networks right up until your heart gives out. Nice thought that. So learn a new language and eat your fish.

Laughter is good too - so I strongly suggest a look at Wolcott's new post about Letterman.


I just picked up that book yesterday. I have been an avid reader of Lehrer's blog, The Frontal Cortex, for a while now. He's smart, casual, open-minded and funny (and 25 years old--how does that make you feel Mr. Mind Slip?). You might want to listen to him on the Australian Broadcasting Co.'s All In The Mind, which is a fantastic podcast to which I subscribe.
I am definitely dumber after 20 years in SW Ohio working in a stressful job for which I am pretty ill-suited. Blogging has helped re-invigorate me in the last couple of years, and a week alone in NYC this month, reconnecting with creative people, has got me firing on at least one extra cylinder. On the other hand, even though it is harder living among the defeated and the lotus-eaters, one can be creative and grow just about anywhere. Outside stimulus just helps the exceptionally lazy and demographic.
Oh and Judith, I read Wolcott's post by accident (I've sworn off meta-election stuff until after I vote on March 4) and I didn't get it; seemed kind of strained. But what do I know, I watch Craig Ferguson, anyway; does that make me a Richardson or Kucinich man?

Bluegrass Poet

The horns of my dilemma: to stay in a boring job and become stupid and depressed or retire (yes, I'm that old) and live a more interesting but considerably hungrier colder possibly shorter life.

Thanks, OutOfContext. Blogging does help and now I can stop excoriating myself for spending three hours perfecting a blog post nobody pays me to write and few will ever read. (Though probably more will read it than read my poetry.) I'm not wasting time; I'm stimulating my neurons.

Pop Mannion

Lance- I bought this wonderful book a few days ago and went straight to the chapter you are discussing. Good analysis.
-Pop Mannion


OutOfContext - you are right - you didnt get it. It was a snarky response to the VF online post he referred to. I thought it was hilarious.

It isnt true that a crap job will wreck your mind if you spend some of your other hours fixing it. Pick up a how to book for something that is the opposite of your skill set. I picked up an algebra book for highschoolers a few years ago and after a while it was fun - it got the brain buzzing. Then I decided there were some things I didnt mind being stupid about. Like algebra.

A dish of cold salmon (even a small peice if you have to watch coin) will fix you right up.

I have about 5 recent text books on the brain so I will pass on this book since the same topic is covered...hope you dont mind, Lance.


Thanks Judith for contextualizing...I make salmon salad once or twice a month (anymore would cause family revolt--one big can pink, one red, a large powerful onion, capers and vegenaise and you'd think I'd dumped a bucket of three day old chum in the middle of the kitchen)--I don't know if it makes me smarter but it doesn't hurt.
Bluegrass P. I have a theory about there being no such thing as wasted time, but I'm afraid it may really be just a slacker's justification theory.


OutOf Context - that sure is a funny post. Frankly, I'd say you are smart enough already and I may need to up my dosage of brain food just catch your tail wind. :-)

and I agree there is no such thing as wasted time (other than watching cable news) so I'd love to hear your theory if you would care to share.


I think this blog has not only kept your brain alive, but doubled your neurons. New York City is an ecological disaster zone. Stay in Syracuse (and also go to The Big City much more often as a beloved visitor) and keep massaging that brain.

With much affection.

Bluegrass Poet

Thanks, OutofContext. There are those who think poets are a waste of time so I suppose I just need to get over it. Certainly a lot of aimlessness comes with the territory, though Wendell Berry would have me rambling through the woods, not writing blogs.

I would hazard a guess that "there is no such thing as wasted time" may be all the elucidation needed, but if there's more, I'd like to hear it.


Judith, I don't elaborate well. I find I appear much smarter when I'm most gnomic, so I'll go with Bluegrass Poet's hazarded guess. I will say one thing (and paraphrase Dylan Thomas), I'm often surprised what shows up in my daft or sudden art(a lot of rotten puns and parenthetical remarks, usually).


OutOfContext - well, I think anyone who quotes Dylan Thomas wins by default anyway. One of my treasured possessions is an earmarked and column noted copy of his poems that my long lost brother kept as a teen. Poets are wonderful...

Uncle Merlin

That is fascinating, I was told the a long time ago that the brain keeps growing but I must get a copy of this book and jump in.

Getting back into reading the latest phyics papers "suretainly" has jump started my brain again. Talk about a wake up call where have i been these last 20 years???

i like your quote
"And while freedom remains an abstract idea, neurogenesis is cellular evidence that we evolved to never stop evolving. Eliot was right: to be alive is to be ceaselessly beginning."

words to live by!

uncle merlin

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