News PM Punch — ‘Bad Santa’

November 25, 2013

newsmanSunshine and a cool breeze fills the afternoon here on California’s north coast — another work week gets its legs.

News on a Monday is always on the slim side — that’s why back in the day, daily newspapers usually carried a big photo on A1 to fill the type gap — which even today, beyond all things Iranian, leaves a quiet void until the next weird event.

One note of interest — expectations are way-over-rated.

I get scared of being scared — anticipation anxiety is sometimes worse than the thing for which I’m anticipating, and panic can jolt my system way-before there’s any recognizable need for such a thing. Almost-always the surge of chaos-adrenalin was for no reason.
And pain — if I know some type physical/mental pain is ahead for whatever nefarious reason, worrying about it increases the apprehension, makes that pain appear even worse.
Now, I don’t feel like the lone, silly-assed neurotic — from New Scientist this morning:

Classical theories of decision-making suppose that people bring rewards forward and postpone punishments, because we give far-off events less weight.
This is called “temporal discounting”.
But this theory seems to go out the window when it comes to pain.
One explanation for this is that the anticipation of pain is itself unpleasant, a phenomenon that researchers have appropriately termed “dread.”
To investigate how dread varies with time, Giles Story at University College London, and his colleagues, hooked up 33 volunteers to a device that gave them mild electric shocks.
The researchers also presented people with a series of choices between more or less mildly painful shocks, sooner or later.

Although a few people always chose to experience the minimum pain, 70 per cent of the time, on average, participants chose to receive the extra shocks sooner rather than a smaller number later.
By varying the number of shocks and when they occurred, the team was able to figure out that the dread of pain increased exponentially as pain approached in time.
Similar results occurred in a test using hypothetical dental appointments.
“This study demonstrates that the fear of anticipation is so strong it can reverse the usual pattern of time discounting,” says George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that as much, or more, of the pains of life come from anticipation and memory than from actual experience.”
The study could well have implications for medicine and health policy, because an understanding of how people judge pain is important for presenting them with options about potentially painful treatments.

Dread covers a shitload of ground. And death, even in ‘Toonville.
This I had not heard — Brian, the intellectual family dog in ‘Family Guy‘ was was killed last night: He was hit by a car as Stewie watches in horror from the front door of the house. His death scene was actually quite graphic—we see him spin through the car tires, eventually spit out to lay limp on the side of the street. The Griffins cry as they say goodbye to him. We cry, too. By the end of the half hour, the Griffins already have a new dog and Brian is just a fond, often crass memory.
That’s the spirit — used to watch ‘Family Guy‘ all the time, but so much the last few years.

Also today, the Connecticut State Attorney’s Office released a summary of the criminal investigation in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School now almost a year old. Details of a horrific crime, and its consequences, but no rhyme or reason: “The obvious question that remains is: ‘Why did the shooter murder 27 people, including 20 children?’ Unfortunately, that question may never be answered conclusively,” the report said.
Supposedly, the final report will be in thousands of pages.

And in anticipation (or dread) of the season, bad Santa arrives in Massachusetts (via Mediaite): “It seems the Santa at the Hanover Mall here, well, was rather naughty and not nice to a co-worker,” Boston’s WBZ reporter Beth Germano said in her report. As the station attempted to interview him at his home Monday, Jones drove away with his middle finger held defiantly in the air.
This guy doing the Mall Santa Claus bit was arrested and ‘charged with indecent assault and battery after allegedly of pinching the buttocks of a female “elf” co-worker, whose job it is to take photos of the children on his lap.’
He’s out on bond, but he’s got a hearing Christmas Eve — nice turn-about.

Meanwhile, on that note of holiday pretense, we’ll go forth into the evening.

(Illustration above found here).

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