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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bubba Smith, NFL and film star, dies at 66


In this 1980 photo released by Warner Bros., former football player and actor Bubba Smtih appears in character as Sgt. Moses Hightower on an undercover assignment in the comedy "Police Academy 3: Back In Training." (AP Photo/Warner Bros.)


LOS ANGELES - Former NFL defensive star Bubba Smith, who found a successful second career as an actor, has died in Los Angeles at age 66.

Los Angeles County coroner's spokesman Ed Winter says Smith was found dead Wednesday at his Baldwin Hills home. Winter says he didn't know the circumstances or cause of death.

Police spokesman Richard French says the death does not appear to be suspicious.

Smith spent five seasons with the Baltimore Colts and two season each with Oakland and Houston. He played college ball at Michigan State.

As an actor he played such characters as police officer Lt. Moses Hightower in the "Police Academy" series.

Chef creates Star Wars replica treats for diners at his sushi restaurant


Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker are among the famous faces to be sculpted from everything from carrots to sweet potato – complete with a side serving of the phantom lettuce - by a top sushi chef.

Green machine: A tasty Stormtrooper looks less menacing sat on a carrot Speeder Bike Green machine: A tasty Stormtrooper looks less menacing sat on a carrot Speeder Bike

The likes of Yoda, R2D2 and Han Solo are held together with bamboo skewers and toothpicks and feature light sabers and other weapons.

They are the brainchild of Japanese sushi chef Okitsugu Kado who spends more than ten hours carving the vegetables before painstakingly piecing them together.

Star Wars favourite Yoda
Star Wars favourite Yoda

‘In most cases I place vegetable sculptures on a dish for customers with their food, although with some of the bigger ones occasionally I will only put on display,’ said Mr Kado, from Osaka.

‘I’m a huge Star Wars fan and a member of a Japanese fan group called Jedi Order.

Ahsoka Tano, from The Clone Wars
Ahsoka Tano, from The Clone Wars
Hero Han Solo
Hero Han Solo

‘For my carvings I use everything from carrots, white radish, sweet potato, Kyo-potato, radish, even pumpkin and more.

‘I’ve been carving vegetables for almost 15 years and have made more than 40 sculptures. Before that I trained in ice carving.’

Star fry veg: R2D2 and an Ewok
Star fry veg: R2D2 and an Ewok (Pictures: Caters)

Despite his carvings taking a number of hours, he admits to getting lost in a galaxy far, far away with time passing without him even realising.

‘Sometimes I need over ten hours to finish just one sculpture but it doesn’t matter to me because during carving I forget the time,’ said the 39-year-old, who works at sushi bistro Minayoshi.

‘I just want to see people smile – that is why I carve.’

10 Breweries With Brilliant Beer Packaging

We hate to admit it, but we've all been known to judge a beer by its label. (Well, hipsters more so. Do you really think they chug PBR because it's delicious?)

With a dizzying kaleidoscope of beer bottles and on today's shelves, standout packaging is more important than ever. Here are 10 brands and breweries that have teamed up with the right designers to create products that beg to be seen.

10. Bard's Beer
Hunt Adkins
Packaging by ​Hunt Adkins
The niftiest thing about Bard's Beer bottles aren't the labels, as simple and sleek as they are, but the bottle caps, which are printed with weird questions that are perfect for pondering and discussing over a beer. Would most ninjas also excel at dancing? What kind of sweater would Genghis Khan have worn? Can ducks laugh? New York-based Bard's, by the way, makes America's first gluten-free sorghum beer.

9. Red Brick
Packaging by 22Squared
Love the charming, down-home labels and carriers of Red Brick, a craft beer made by Atlanta Brewing Company. The description of its Dog Days Ale is, "Like jumping into a swimming hole lips first." Thirsty yet?

8. Hell Yeah Beer
Dirk Behlau for Hell Yeah Beer
​You would just feel hardcore while drinking this beer. Its ingredients: "water, hops, malt and rock ´n´ roll."
7. Grimm Brothers Brewhouse
Packaging by Tenfold Collective
Damsels aren't so distressed in these goth-inspired labels for the Colorado-based brewery.

6. The Bruery
​OC's The Bruery makes some of the classiest, eye-catching, most elegant labels out there.

5. Pembroke Craft Brewery
Packaging by Gary Head
Okay, this just appeals to the girl in me. You can reuse the bottles as flower vases!

4. Left Hand Brewing Company

These intricate illustrations could be collector's items. Each tells a trippy story.
3. Rush River Brewing Co.
Oh Beautiful Beer
​Packaging by Westwerk Design
Again . . . so pretty!
2. Great Divide Brewing Co.
Always bold, distinctive and statement-making.

1. 21st Amendment Brewery
​Heads will turn the moment you pop the top on these iconic cans.

Five Tips for Effective Food Photography


Kholood Eid
As beautiful as food can be, it's not always that easy to photograph--especially if there's no food stylist on call or elaborate studio space to occupy. Here at Chow Bella, we've compiled a list of tips to keep in mind when out shooting, regardless of how attractive the dish or how sophisticated the equipment on hand may be.

Kholood Eid
5. Focus on the Details
A lot of chefs treat each dish like a presentation, so handle it with care. Really take a look at the food before hitting the shutter button on the camera. Consider the composition. Does the entire plate need to be in the shot? Do you need to get in tighter, cropping out some of the food in order to get the nitty gritty details? Does the garnish need to be included? It's a call that you can only make after seeing what's in front of you. But we'd suggest taking a variety of shots, just in case. And from different angles. When focusing, we suggest shooting with a wider aperture if your camera has the option to adjust those settings (maybe an f-stop of 2.8). That allows for a shallow depth of field, which will better control where the viewers' eyes go in the photograph.

Kholood Eid
4. Know When to Use Props--And When Not To
Some folks may be tempted to pair silverware with every dish photographed, but try to fight that urge. Props can be lovely when incorporated in the right manner. And forks, spoons and knives aren't the only items available to use. What's the scene of the restaurant like? Implementing that into the photo can be a nice change of pace from the usual super tight shot, but don't get too hung up on trying to always squeeze the environment in. For food photography, less is usually more. The tighter the better, but every now and then, if the opportunity presents itself, zoom out (if you do decide to incorporate a background, make sure the image isn't overly chaotic and confusing.).

3. Sometimes, You Just Have to MacGyver It
We understand that not everyone is toting around thousands of dollars worth of equipment--and even those who are may still be lacking in some pretty basic tools to make the job easier. That's why it pays to be resourceful and inventive. Don't have a diffuser to filter light? Buy a white sheet or use white napkins. No lightstand to balance a reflector? Use a chair at the restaurant. No tripod? Position the camera on a table, maybe with a stack of camera manuels or menus under it to vary the height. Just remember to always have rubber bands, duct tape and a cool head on your shoulders.

Kholood Eid
2. Behold the Wonders of Natural Light!
You cannot underestimate the beauty of natural light. Don't get us wrong, being able to control the exact amount of power released from strobes in a studio run under your orders is a fantastic thing. But not all of us have that luxury, or some of us are being sent to the restaurants to photograph the dishes. Kindly request that the dish be brought to you at a table close to a window while you set up. And by "set up," I mean you're pulling out a reflector and a tripod--if you've got it.

Say you've got a plate of pita chips and hummus to photograph and you place it with the window to its left. Light travels in straight lines that don't curve at your will--unless you make them. Chances are you'll need a fill light for the right side of the dish so the shadows aren't too heavy and the other side of the food still has enough light. This is where a reflector is perfect, or even a white napkin. Either will help bounce light back into the scene. Reflectors range in price and can cost anywhere from $12 to pushing $100. There's no need to spend more than $12-$20, because it's a simple enough device that can be created on your own (remember that whole resourceful thing?).

Do not use a flash. Please, just don't do it. It will look overbearing and can either wash out the dish or create heavy, distracting shadows. If you do still find yourself really wanting to use a flash, put a gel over it so that it matches the color temperature of the room and put a diffuser over that so the light isn't too powerful. And it would probably be best to have the flash off-camera (still tempted to use flash over natural light??).

We'd ditch the flash for a reflector and a tripod. The tripod is great to have because, even with the natural light and restaurant lights, the room may still be too dim for a handheld shot. If you're using an iPhone camera, steady hands will go a long way here. Or check out tripods made for iPhones, if you really want to pimp out your camera phone gear.

Kholood Eid
1. Technical Proficiency Is a Must
As basic as this sounds, well, you need to know the basics. Otherwise, it gets difficult to produce quality work. Proper exposure, focus, composition, white balance--these are essential points to understand. If your shot is underexposed, there's only so much you can do in post-production work (i.e. software like Photoshop) to adjust that. But there's not a whole lot that can be done to fix a badly composed or blurry shot after it's been taken. So, as our photo instructors in college would ask, Why not just get it right the first time around? Make sure the food is well lit and that the camera settings are adjusted to read the light properly, and go from there. Is it in focus? Try to use that shallow depth of field as mentioned in previous tips.

And don't forget color balance.

A filet mignon will not look all that appetizing if the photo is murky and green. Proper color balance of a photo is essential in food photography. Avoid having that color cast over the image by setting your camera to automatic white balance before shooting, or manually adjust it depending on the color temperature of the light (tungsten, which often casts orange tones, will have a different color temperature than shooting under florescent, which can give photos a green-like-The-Matrix look if you're not careful). If you find yourself with a photo that you've taken that does have a strange off-color look to it, it's an easy fix in Photoshop and/or other software. It can be fixed by adjusting the balance of colors (for example, adding magenta will help to take away green from an overly-green image). Check with the program you're using for more details on how to do go about the different methods of color correction.

And although we've already touched on composition in preview tips, we have something to add: For the love of God, don't tilt the camera for that stupid diagonal horizon effect. It rarely (if ever) adds anything to the photograph.

American Airlines And Gogo Roll Out In-Flight Personal Device Video Streaming To 767 Fleet


Entertainment On Demand

As we heard earlier this Spring, American Airlines became one of the first North American airlines to begin testing Gogo’s in-flight streaming video to personal devices for passengers. Today, the company is announcing a broader roll out of the new entertainment product to its entire fleet of 767 aircrafts, mainly on routes between New York’s JFK, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

We’ve also learned more details about the entertainment product. The system will wirelessly stream content such as movies and TV shows from an inflight library to select types of Wi-Fi-enabled laptops during flights. ‘Entertainment On Demand’ will be available for $0.99 per TV show and $3.99 per movie. Customers do not have to purchase inflight Wi-Fi to use Entertainment On Demand can just click on the Entertainment On Demand banner on the inflight Wi-Fi homepage, select a movie or TV show, enter the form of payment and click “rent.”

American Airlines says that the platform currently offers 100 movies and TV shows, which will remain accessible for viewing after the customer has landed (movies for 24 hours and TV shows for 72 hours). The goal, says the company, is to roll the in-flight entertainment system out to all wi-fi enabled aircrafts. American Airlines actually only received received FAA certification for the system this month.

In the coming months, in-flight wifi provider Gogo plans to make tablets and other devices available for use with the product. I can imagine many users may want to be able to stream movies to their iPads in flight as opposed to using laptops.

Here’s a video explaining how the service works.

Fan Gets Kobe’s Face Tattooed on His Leg


Ok, now I’m confused. Something very strange is going on in the world that I need help understanding. Apparently, it has become cool to get the face of complete strangers tattooed on your body. In the past handful of months, we saw someone get Dirk’s face on his butt, LeBron’s face (although it looks more like a drunk Jamal Mashburn) on his leg, and now Kobe Bryant.

But this isn’t just any tattoo of Kobe. This guy decided to get a mural on his leg, complete with a right hand and everything. And it’s very detailed, which makes me even more uneasy and confused. But aside from the obvious reasons which make this situation strange, the fact that this guy handed the tattoo artist a picture of a newly awaken Kobe baffles me too. It looks like Kobe is tired and just rolled out of bed. If he felt compelled to do something as ridiculous as this, wasn’t there a picture available of Kobe where he looks more awake that he could’ve used? But if there’s one good thing to take away from all of this, it helps in proving the resurgence of the NBA’s popularity. I’m reaching, I know.

Put your thinking hat on: Amazing 'brain cap' lets stroke patients move their limbs using the power of thought

By Daniel Bates

It is not so much ‘I think therefore I am’, but ‘I think therefore I move’.

Researchers have developed a ‘brain cap’ which lets stroke patients move parts of their body using just the power of their mind.

The team tracked the brain signals of healthy people as they walked along then used the data to ‘retrain’ the minds of those who were unable to move on their own.

They say it can help people who have suffered a stroke, been paralysed or those who have muscle wasting diseases to walk once again.

Scroll down for video

All in the mind: University of Maryland student Harsha Agashe wears the 'brain cap', a non-invasive, sensor-lined piece of headwear that scientists claim lets stroke patients move parts of their body using just the power of thought

All in the mind: University of Maryland student Harsha Agashe wears the 'brain cap', a non-invasive, sensor-lined piece of headwear that scientists claim lets stroke patients move parts of their body using just the power of thought

Getting patients moving gives them a
new found freedom but it also helps combat other health problems like
obesity and diabetes, the researchers said.

They also hope the technology could help such people move other limbs they are unable to like their hands.

The breakthrough was part of an ongoing project by the University of Maryland (UMD).

Unlike other non-invasive techniques it does not require much training and is the first to achieve results on a par with patients who have had electrodes implanted into their brains.

Patients wear a cap which is wired with hundreds of sensors and it connected up to the lab computers which monitor their brain waves.

By scanning a healthy person undertaking a number of activities such as walking over an object or just strolling along, they know how the brain should ‘think’ when doing so.

Scanning: Patients wear a cap which is wired with hundreds of sensors and it connected up to the lab computers which monitor their brain waves

Scanning: Patients wear a cap which is wired with hundreds of sensors and it connected up to the lab computers which monitor their brain waves

‘By decoding the motion of a normal gait, we can then try and teach stroke victims to think in certain ways and match their own EEG signals with the normal signals,’ said José Contreras-Vidal, Associate Professor of Kinesiology at UMD.

UMD biomedical doctoral student Steve Graff, who is working on the project, added that a good way of doing this is to show a patient an avatar on a computer screen who is walking properly and get them to copy it.

Graff, who has congenital muscular dystrophy and is in a wheelchair, said he hopes that the technology will one day allow him to use a mobile phone or throw a football - with just the power of his mind.

‘It gives us a way to train someone to think the right thoughts to generate movement from digital avatars. If they can do that, then they can generate thoughts to move a device,’ he told Gizmag.

The UMD team had previously got a patient to recreate 3D hand movements and move a computer cursor with their mind.

Their aim is to help the disabled achieve a full return of motor functions following injury, paralysis or stroke.

By scanning a healthy person undertaking a number of activities such as walking over an object or just strolling along, they know how the brain should 'think' when doing so

By scanning a healthy person undertaking a number of activities such as walking over an object or just strolling along, they know how the brain should 'think' when doing so

Is This Marvel Studios’ Upcoming Film Schedule?


A poster on IMDB who claims to be working with Marvel Studios spilled the beans in a posting with what appears to be the studio’s upcoming feature and short film schedule through 2016. Now with this being IMDB, take it with a huge grain of salt as anyone can post anything they want on there, and it can be full of crap. But this schedule does look somewhat legit based on previous rumors:

For RELEASE in 2013 –


For RELEASE in 2014 –


For RELEASE in 2015 –


For RELEASE in 2016 –



Interesting bits in there include Neil Marshall directing Thor 2 and Edgar Wright’s long-awaited Ant Man becoming a short film. The Incredible Hulk Returns would be pretty awesome, if true, as would an Antoine Fuqua-directed Black Panther. Imagine Tears of the Sun, but with Black Panther. That would be pretty cool.

Goal Goal... Goaallllll... (gif)

6 Beloved Characters That Had Undiagnosed Mental Illnesses Read more: 6 Beloved Characters That Had Undiagnosed Mental Illnesses


It's unlikely that the writers who created these characters consciously decided they would give them an undiagnosed mental disorder as one of their traits. Maybe they were just borrowing behaviors of a "quirky" friend, or maybe the writers suffered from the disorder and wrote the characters to mimic their own life.Before you skip down to the comments to submit your passionate defense of Holmes' mental state, we're not the only ones who think he shows up on the autism spectrum. Holmes' hyper-keen observational skills, social mannerisms and overall personality have fueled Asperger's rumors everywhere from Holmes fan forums to Asperger's support forums.

But one way or another, these characters show all the symptoms ...

#6. Sherlock Holmes -- Asperger's Syndrome

It's tough to pin down the exact personality traits of Sherlock Holmes, since his story has been recycled in so many incarnations. He's the most-portrayed fictional character in the world, running the gamut from Basil Rathbone playing a jolly English gentleman who fights Nazis to Robert Downey Jr.'s Victorian Rain Man/MMA fighter. But there are some key characteristics in the original Arthur Conan Doyle version that tend to crop up again and again, and they all indicate a severe case of Asperger's.


"Solving crimes is all well and good, Watson, but I have a Yu-Gi-Oh! forum to moderate!"

The Red Flags


"Holmes, stop looking through my stuff for clues. This is the reason no one else will lodge with you."

The first thing to keep in mind is that the character isn't just portrayed as being really smart -- he is obsessed with certain subjects and totally excludes all others. In one of the Holmes stories, A Study in Scarlet, he doesn't know that the Earth revolves around the sun (because, he says, the information doesn't have any effect on his everyday life). These uneven obsessions with random topics -- in Holmes' case, things like tobacco ashes and regional soil consistency -- are not signs of an enthusiast; they are symptoms of a disorder. Or, as the Yale Child Study Center puts it, Asperger's sufferers show "...a narrow range of capacities for memorizing lists or trivial information, calendar calculation, visual-spatial skills such as drawing, or musical skills involving a perfect pitch or playing a piece of music after hearing it only once."

"Care for a 70th rendition of 'Baa Baa Black Sheep,' my dear Watson?"

And most telling is that Holmes' talents are coupled with an inability to interact socially with anyone but Watson. He embarks on long-winded monologues about very specific topics, oblivious to the listener's lack of interest. If you know someone with Asperger's, you're well familiar with this habit.

It's true that the disorder wouldn't be recognized until 70 years after Doyle invented the character. But obviously the disorder existed long before there was a name for it, and Doyle didn't have to know what the disorder was called in order to have known somebody with those quirks, and written them into his fictional detective. Perhaps 70 years from now, experts will have a name for the ability to slow down time and punch people in slow motion.


#5. Ariel from The Little Mermaid -- Disposophobia (Hoarding)

The Little Mermaid is the heartwarming tale of a mermaid who cuts a deal with a cephalopod witch doctor to transform her into a mute nudist so she can seduce a man from another species. And you know what, we're going to give the main character, Ariel, a pass on all that. She's just a teenager, after all, and her quirky desire to be human drives the entire plot of the movie.

"Well, this is totally better than anorexia!"

But Ariel has another glaring, deep-seated issue that should be addressed. Whether it's because she keeps it so well hidden from the other merpeople or because some problems are just too big for a crab and a fish to tackle, no one in the film ever addresses the fact that Ariel is a pathological hoarder.

The whole situation is pretty forked.

The Red Flags

The opening scene in the film depicts Ariel raiding a sunken boat for useless bullshit. She collects everything she can find, despite having no idea what any of it does.

"I don't know what this is, but my teenage rebellion sense is tingling!"

OK, she's just a kid. Kids obsess over weird things: that's not unusual. So it's not until we see her full empire of secret garbage that we know she has a serious problem. She's clearly not throwing anything away:

This teenager has already collected a landfill worth of human trash in her few short years and socked it all away where no one else can get at it. And what do you know, according to the researchers behind the book Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, the difference between just collecting and hoarding is that, "When people collect things, they typically want to display them to other people .... Hoarders want to keep things hidden because of the shame they have."

"This box is where I keep my toenail clippings and hairballs."

It's a compulsion. Ariel has 20 corkscrews and she doesn't even know what they do. She creates an emotional attachment to every object she finds, and this is another common problem among hoarders: they find sentimentality in random, worthless items.

"That's the only reason you're not a side dish right now."

And Ariel's compulsion does interfere with her normal life -- she lets down her father by hunting for trash instead of going to a concert she promised to attend. And, sure enough, one of the main side effects of disposophobia is obsessing over the collection at the expense of daily obligations.

Ariel, there is a certain reality show we want to put you in touch with ....

#4. Belle from Beauty and the Beast -- Schizoid Personality Disorder

We're going to avoid the obvious fact that Belle's relationship with the Beast who is imprisoning her shows all the signs of Stockholm syndrome (and in fact we've already detailed that here). We're guessing not even Disney would dispute that one.

"So now that we've established a relationship based on mutual trust, can I go now? No? OK, cool."

But Belle didn't need to be kidnapped to develop a mental disorder; she comes firing out of the gates with one already fully developed: schizoid personality disorder.

The Red Flags

Don't confuse this with schizophrenia -- we're not claiming the talking monster and sentient candlesticks are figments of her imagination. Schizoid personality disorder "... is characterized by a long-standing pattern of detachment from social relationships," and a sufferer "... often has difficulty ... [expressing] emotions and does so typically in very restricted range, especially when communicating with others."

It's hard to be normal when the town constantly follows you down the road, singing.

So, in Disney's reimagining of the fairy tale, Belle is a beautiful, independent and headstrong bookworm who is unfairly ostracized by the other inhabitants of her little French village simply for being "odd." She ends up befriending and falling in love with a beast before she knows he's secretly a human prince under a spell. This is supposed to show that her heart is so pure that she's able to look past appearances and love someone for who he is on the inside. In reality, Belle would have probably preferred he stay a beast and all his servants stay candlesticks and clocks, though she'd never admit it.

Wait, are these thing humans as well? Is she going to eat them?

Schizoid personality disorder's trademark symptom is self-imposed social isolation. Above all, someone suffering from the disorder will avoid human relationships, especially any that might result in sexual encounters. Belle is pursued throughout the film by Gaston, who wants to marry her, and while her staunch refusal to entertain any of his advances only because he is handsome seems admirable, she is more likely exemplifying the quintessential behavior of someone who has no interest in sex at all. In fact, someone with the disorder is more likely to find stronger intimacy with animals than people, so it's little surprise that Belle develops a relationship with a beast instead of a man.

"In a few hundred years there's going to be an entire subculture based around this."

In addition, her friendships with anthropomorphized teacups and footstools are stronger than any she's ever had with a human (outside of her father). The seclusion of the castle along with the nonhuman inhabitants and a relationship with a beast who isn't a sexual threat is like a dream for anyone with schizoid personality disorder. So it seems ironic that she was responsible for breaking the spell, turning them all back into humans. It certainly changes the tone of the happy ending.

"I think I'm going to be sick."

#3. Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye -- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

America's favorite literary rebel, The Catcher in the Rye's Holden Caulfield, has a special place in the hearts of readers. After all, everyone was 17 once, and likely tried really hard to articulate all the things they felt about ... stuff. Holden is intensely contemptuous of the insincerity of the world and people around him (the "phonies"), yet still strives to find his place in a society he ultimately despises. Or to put it simply, he has to grow the fuck up.

Oh boo hoo, you're terrible at baseball. To be honest, we skimmed this bit back in high school.

What no one in the book acknowledges, though, is that Holden isn't acting like your standard-issue Hughesian teen, but actually exhibits classic symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

No, really. While PTSD is generally associated with people who've experienced horrific events like war, any traumatic incident can cause it. Holden has had to deal with both a brother dying of leukemia and seeing a classmate commit suicide while wearing his borrowed sweater.

"It was from Abercrombie and Fitch ... bastard."

The Red Flags

One of the telltale signs of PTSD is reliving the traumatic event over and over. Holden consistently, almost compulsively, refers to seeing the face of his dead classmate, James Castle, yet he never seems to have any emotional reaction to the event. Instead he concentrates on the visual of seeing the blood and teeth everywhere, or the look on James' face. PTSD causes that kind of persistent emotional numbing, which would explain his distance from the experience.

If Catcher had been written today, Holden would be nursing a Pabst in this picture.

It can also trigger thoughts of suicide, which Holden fully acknowledges throughout the novel ("What I really felt like, though, was committing suicide. I felt like jumping out the window.")

While some of these symptoms could just as easily stem from depression, it's important to also point out that J.D. Salinger himself likely suffered from PTSD. Following World War II, Salinger was diagnosed with "battle fatigue," which sounds much milder than PTSD (and in fact sounds like it could be cleared up with a quick nap). In reality, it was a primitive way to diagnose the thousands of mental breakdowns following conflict that we now call PTSD.

"You're just tired, J.D. War does that to people."

In fact, The Catcher in the Rye wasn't Salinger's only attempt to write about the disorder. The short story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" also deals with the suicidal thoughts of a man trying to live a normal life after traumatic events, and the story "For Esme" parallels his own traumatic experiences in the military (it was published only five years after Salinger was hospitalized in Germany for his nervous breakdown). A lot of fiction gets more depressing when you realize that writers are usually writing about themselves, whether they admit it or not.

#2. Glinda the Good Witch -- Sadistic Personality Disorder

Our only evidence that Glinda the Good Witch is "good" is that she bears that title, and even then we don't know who bestowed it. As we have pointed out before, her actions in The Wizard of Oz involve dropping a house on her rival, blaming it on a teenage child and then encouraging that teenager to assassinate the dead woman's last living relative.

"Congratulations, Dorothy. You've earned your first teardrop tattoo."

Throughout The Wizard of Oz, Glinda never gives any reason for murdering the witches other than that they're ugly and different and therefore -- according to good ole-fashioned Dust Bowl logic -- completely evil. So maybe Glinda won the title of "good" by default, simply because anyone left who would question her goodness ends up fertilizing those bitchy apple trees who throw things at tourists.

These tortured creatures were Munchkins once.

No, Glinda is by no means good. In fact, she's likely suffering from sadistic personality disorder.

The Red Flags

Sadistic personality disorder doesn't just mean somebody is an evil dick. There are particular aspects that identify it as a disorder. For instance, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders suggests that sufferers are amused by the emotional turmoil of others. Now keep that in mind when you watch the vague, detached, smirking expression on Glinda's face throughout the string of tragedies that open the film.

Note the radically different facial expressions. One of them is appropriate.

As soon as the "Wicked" Witch of the West begins mourning her dead sister, Glinda immediately starts taunting her. Glinda then takes the dead woman's slippers -- the only keepsake by which the Wicked Witch might remember her sister -- and forces Dorothy to wear them. The Wicked Witch even tells Dorothy, "They're of no use to you," but Glinda convinces the girl never to take them off.

"Not when we've put so much effort into prying them off her cold dead feet!"

The Good Witch is so dead set on demeaning the Wicked Witch in front of a crowd that, in a weird magic pissing contest, Glinda calls the Wicked Witch's power into question and throws out the threat that someone might drop a house on her, too. That need to demean people in the presence of others is a primary symptom of sadistic personality disorder, and Glinda's unwavering enjoyment throughout the ordeal is a testament to her sickness.

Also she is blatantly using Dorothy as a human shield.

In addition, the disorder fuels a desire to restrict the autonomy of others, and to lie for the sole purpose of confusion. And sure enough, we find out that Glinda knows from the start how to send Dorothy home, but instead she makes up a ridiculous quest to the wizard with no tangible gain. The fact that Glinda is the one who helps Dorothy get home in the end is almost sickening, given the mortal danger she put the girl through (not to mention the two deaths that are now on Dorothy's hands as a result). Yet Glinda can't stop smiling that vacant Stepford Wives smile. Not ever.

"I wouldn't have believed that the slippers were the key home! Lady, I just dropped a house on someone."

#1. Scarlett O'Hara -- Antisocial and Histrionic Personality Disorder

Gone With the Wind's Scarlett O'Hara is one of the most iconic heroines in American film. Living in an era when women weren't considered their most attractive unless their mouths were shut, Scarlett was portrayed as a hard-workin', hard-drinkin', hard-screwin' Southern belle who wouldn't take shit from anyone. In fact, it's probably easier to just think of her as Doc Holiday in a dress.

"You, Miss, are no lady."

Women the world over have cited her as a role model and one of the most prominent feminist icons of all time. However, she has some downright unsavory characteristics as well. Most notable among them are a quick temper, a willingness to show a little skin to get what she wants and a cutthroat determination, regardless of who gets hurt.

The North would probably have run for their lives if she showed up like this.

And while those traits would win her a lot of competitive reality shows, they are also the definite symptoms of antisocial and histrionic personality disorders.

The Red Flags

One of the chief signs of antisocial personality disorder is the inability to understand the motivations and feelings of other people. That lack of empathy manifests itself right from the start, when Scarlett tries to seduce the engaged Ashley Wilkes, fails, and then seduces his brother instead out of spite.

What man could resist this?

From there, things just get worse. She burns her way through three marriages over the course of a few years, sticking with each man only until he wears out his usefulness. The worst example is Frank Kennedy, her sister's fiance, whom she tricks into marriage only because she needs him to pay the taxes on her plantation. This seductive behavior, the incapacity to maintain enduring relationships and her persistent manipulation are all signs of a disorder that even Civil War-era doctors could have picked up on. You know, if they weren't busy digging bullets out of Confederates and calming night terrors.

One of most telling signs of histrionic personality disorder, on the other hand, is Scarlett's need to constantly be the center of attention and her wild overreaction to every problem she faces.


In the beginning of the film, while the men's conversation changes from her to the war, she says, "War, war, war. This war talk's spoiling all the fun at every party this spring. I get so bored, I could scream." Psychologists would recognize that desire to be at the center of attention at all times -- the disorder means a person's self-esteem "depends on the approval of others and does not arise from a true feeling of self-worth." Now watch Scarlett collapse into a puddle of melodrama when she is rejected by a man:

It's worth watching just to see him give her a handful of soil in the middle of her crying fit.

She literally needs constant praise, or as Rhett Butler puts it, she "needs to be kissed often." Which makes it all the more sad when characters gradually turn their backs on her and her crazy hurricane of bullshit.

Though we're sympathetic with everyone who leaves her, because if we knew someone like Scarlett in reality, it would be hard after a while to pretend to give a damn.

"He'll be back. I'm sure of it. He left his umbrella."

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