Posted by: David | December 11, 2007

3 Cheers For Neuroplasticity!

Hip hip … hooray!

I think I know what it is. Might have to learn more. Brain is plastic, malleable, healing, changing ... Do like the word …

MMMMMMmmm   [Homer Simpson drool]    nnnew rrrowwww plaz TISS it teee!

Saw the tail end of a PBS special on it last night. After watching The Big Lebowski for the first time ever. Not sure how I managed to go this many years not seeing this Coen brothers essential. Thanks to this Life With Buck blog post for kicking me out of my procrastinatory, vodka-fueled stupor to dive headlong into the ultimate stoner-bowler-fear-and-loathing-freakfestiest film ever!

Isn’t a shame how they’ve taken all the X out of XMAS?

And then I click to Peter Coyote telling me how plastic is my freakin brain. OK. Great. While I have been VERY relieved to get the news of recent years on how “plastic” our brains really are, I’m not so sure that I want Madison Ave. and Wall Street pushing brain enhancement products at me. It’s good enough to know that all those brain cells I’ve murdered over the years are not a total loss. Their function may be replaced by other neurons. Or I might even grow new neurons. It’s like my brain is ALIVE!

What about MY brain?

That is an immense comfort. In my youth we were told that our brains contained some 10 billion neurons at birth, and that was one’s total smarts for life. You couldn’t grow new ones and they would just die off by the hundreds with each drink you drank and joint you smoked, or maybe they’d just die of sheer boredom, since we only used 10% of that grey jelly in our skulls anyway. Looks like they didn’t know SQUAT about our brains after all! Stupid neuroscientists! Thanks for NOTHING!


  1. Hilarious! I want to be in your brain for about fifteen seconds. Wait. No. That might put me over the edge. Never mind.

    Instead, I’ll ask: What kind of dog is Oliver? Is he planning to get married or have children when he’s older? I want to adopt one of his offspring.
    That is absolutely the cutest dog I’ve ever seen.

    I highly recommend that you watch “The Big Lebowski” more than once. I’m serious. For some reason, the more you watch it, the more you gain from it. But don’t watch it on Friday nights. As John Goodman said:

    “I’m Shomer Shabbos, goddammit.”

  2. Thanks moonbeam. Come on in, there’s plenty of room since I keep my brain as empty as possible, 15 seconds ought to do it. And don’t worry, there really is no “edge”.

    Oliver is a Jack Russell terrier who was given to my wife by one of her horse driving friends that raises them. Oliver was neutered some time ago so no offspring, sorry. However, Oliver’s mother did have a litter of 5 a few months ago and there may still be some for sale (they live in South Carolina). There’s a photo of the puppies at the bottom of my post on “contentment”.

    Oliver does photograph pretty well but the photos don’t show the OCD, ADHD, or his other profoundly perseverative behaviors. He is smart, but requires a fairly significant amount of attention. His breed is known for trainability, but this requires the kind of consistency that my wife and I do not have. And, at about 3, he’s just coming into his “adulthood” so he’s bound to calm down some. Hopefully.

    Thanks, I will watch Lebowski again, maybe even on the sabbath.

  3. I told Tom that I wanted to adopt an Oliver sibling, and he said no. He’s so mean! So the deal is, once I make a million dollars, and buy us a new house with a yard, I get a pup. Can’t wait!

  4. I like the whole use-it-or-lose-it concept brought up in this article but too many classes can stifle creativity though opencourse , like opensource has always had a place in my heart using too much mental floss could be dangerous lest one become a victim of nerd sniping I suppose one could always work on their kinetic intelligence while working on their mental fitness by doing something like knitting though as a teck dude you might wanna resort to knitting xml as found at certainly better than sitting around all day figuring out how to save money or being worried about toilet mist

  5. Truth be told moonbeam, I told my wife, when she was down in SC doing a horse show with her friend a couple years back, DO NOT, under any circumstances, bring home one of those ankle-biters. Clearly my demands were ignored completely. Wish I’d thought of that million dollar deal back then!

    So, I would be on Tom’s side, I’m afraid. While Oliver is said to be “really mellow” for his breed, I could really do without the whining when he spots a chipmunk out the window, the barking and growling, and the at least monthly pissing on something in the house. At least he eats a lot less than the large dogs we’ve owned in the past.

    I freely admit that he’s a smart dog, but we all know that intelligence doesn’t necessarily imply sanity. If you’re really a dog lover, then fine, go for a terrier. After you get the million, the house, and the yard.

  6. Kevin- why do I feel like I just got spammed? Glad I fished your megalinks comment out of the filter. I hope the toilet mist doesn’t seep into my blog now. Cripes! You know, half the time I don’t even get 50% of what you’re talking about. And I’ve told you a MILLION TIMES not to exaggerate!

    But thanks for Happy Slip- she’s hilarious!

  7. No offense, but you and Tom are really bumming me out with your…your…sensibility.

  8. None taken. That’s a guy’s main job. Am I right?

  9. So…you’re over-the-counter bottle of brain cells is not far off?? If that’s the case, bring on the hardcore narcotics!!! 😉

  10. romi41, welcome and thanks for your brilliant suggestion.

    Yeah, a neuron-fortified intracranial infusion in a handy disposable home use kit. What a great idea. Can be connected to any KitchenAid mixer (Autoclave and skull injector sold separately)! The only problem is where to get the actual human neurons. Hmmmmmm.

    Sure could make up for a whole host of prescriptions gone wrong. Brain Tissue Replacement. HMMMMMMM.

    No hardcore narcotics for me thanks, I’ll stick to the vodka & cigarette butt smoothies. 😉

  11. This isn’t an endorsement or anything, but I’ve lost three pounds on David’s Vodka and Cigarette Butt Smoothie Diet.

  12. Thanks for that non-endorsement mmq. Whatever you’re doing it’s working! Anyone ever tell you that you’re the spitting image of Theda Bara? Whoa!

    P.S. Please discontinue Vodka & Cigarette Butt Smoothie Diet® immediately if any of the following occur: dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarhea, cancer, forgetfulness, dizziness, nausea, or vomiting. Be sure to tell your doctor something too. Whatever you like. That she’s a nice doctor, happy holidays, etc.

  13. Uh oh…

  14. Hilarious – the comments almost funnier than the post. MMQ and David – you need to do a stand-up routine. Cuz you already have the sit-down-and-type one perfected. Who needs TV. I read blogs for entertainment. Yours. 🙂

  15. Crap. Forgot I was on my daughter’s computer again. That “sanderlou” comment – and this one – is really Little Miss in disguise. Or with dead brain cells and no coffee. Must go fix that now.

  16. Thanks Little Miss, glad you’re entertained. I’ve been watching much less TV lately too. Especially since Kevin pointed me to And Mr Angry pointed me to TheHill88. Cute and confident young ladies on the YouTube. That’s entertainment.

    And moonbeam, please accept my apologies for any distress the “diet” may have caused. I probably should have mentioned that women who are pregnant, nursing, OR HAVE FIBROMYOWGIA should not use this diet, huh? Oops.

    Guess I won’t be getting that job at PfizerSandozGlaxoSmithKlineFrench-Walmart any time soon. That’s OK, I don’t have a college degree anyway.

  17. I LOVE Plop & Shop! Wow, how come I never saw that before your Happy Slip link? I wish that was on TV 24-hours a day. I also love the photo of Oliver — he looks like he’s pondering the mysteries of the universe, the secret of life, a squirrel about two seconds away from climbing the bird feeder. And when it does, Oliver will be ready …

    Like you, I was told in school that my brain cells were dying every second and there was nothing I could do about it, so I never even tried. But you’ve given me new hope here.

  18. I don’t know how Happy Slip evaded me for so long either. YouTube is like a parallel universe or some shit. Thank GOD for Kevin. He turned me on to Little Britain too. MLIS beats PhD any day of the week!! (No offense to my doctoral friends- I love you too.)

    Don’t thank me for the neuroplastic hope. Thank the neuroscientists. Next time you meet one at the Shop N Save or wherever …

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