Category Archives: The Senses

My articles: Atlas Shrugged Movie Update and more!

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United States of Tara? Cuckoo!

Although The United States of Tara hasn’t premiered yet on Showtime, it is getting a lot of publicity. As Diablo Cody — who wrote the fine film Juno — is writing several of the episodes, and an expert (Dr. Richard P. Kluft) and a D.I.D. patient are consultants, I expect it to be done with some realism and seriousness. However, creating an entertainment program out of such a tragic situation is always difficult. When is humor in such a program proper or tasteful?

This review is encouraging:

If you take a look at the series and become interested in more material about D.I.D. (Dissociative Identity Disorder, also known as Multiple Personalities), I have read a book that I think successfully merges humor and entertainment values with telling a story of D.I.D.– in this case, a true story. It’s an autobiography in the form of a graphic novel (“comic book”), by Madison Clell, entitled Cuckoo.

It tells of her slowly discovering memories of the traumatic events that caused her to have the disorder, and then attempting to cure herself. It is harrowing but it is also told with enough humor that it does not overwhelm you. In fact I found it impossible to put down. Some of the drawings are rough, and some of the lettering takes a minute to decipher, but they reflect the mental state being conveyed. Obviously the content is not for the squeamish and not for children.

Cuckoo is more genuine and straightforward than United States of Tara is likely to be, in that there is no barrier between the author’s own experiences and the reader. She speaks directly to you. Whereas, the cable series Tara is a fictional show created by professional dramatists primarily to entertain.

Get the Trade Paperback of Cuckoo at:

Also, in an unplanned juxtaposition, Cuckoo has been turned into a play, with more material and Madison Clell in a small role, which will be performed on stage during the month of February at the Phoenix Theatre in San Francisco, just as United States of Tara premieres on Showtime.


Incidentally, Madison Clell, through therapy and her own heroic determination, has managed to cure herself of the disorder. The play of Cuckoo carries the story beyond the book, all the way to her final integration.

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Two Topics: The U.S. Elections and The Merging of Man and Machine

Onthe November 2, 2008  “60 Minutes” TV program, Scott Pelley will report on one of the most amazing and importantleaps in technology ever achieved by Man. I predict that this discovery will be the stepping stone to never-before-imagined possibilities inhuman activity during the coming century.

As a CBS promotional message sums it up: “People who are completely paralyzed due to illness or trauma …are getting help communicating with a remarkable new technology that connects their brains to a computer. In the future, brain computer interface, or BCI, may even restore movement to paralyzed people and allow amputees to move bionic limbs.”

Now, on to a lessinspiring topic: The U.S. Elections.Obviously, for someone like mewho seeks a moral, individual-rights-based, laissez-faire capitalist society where no one’s income is takenfrom him against his will, where no one is forced to financially support projects he does not choose to support onhis own, where businesses, investors and banks are free tosucceed or fail without government regulations and without governmentbailouts that steal from taxpayers (andalso reduce the buying power of each dollar by inflating themoney supply via deficit spending)—and for someone who seeks a government with a consistent foreign policy of pure self-defense, where no American soldier is sacrificed needlessly and no mercy is shown to our enemies — and for someone who seeks separation of church and state — and open borders to immigrants — there is no acceptable candidate for President.

Even if you simply seek a candidate who consistentlyspeaks in depthof actual ideas rather than one-liners, who speaks from actual knowledge of history rather than pre-determined slogans, who acts like a human being rather than a marionette, you are out of luck. Of course there are brief exceptions here and there where the two candidates show a glimmer of actual thought, but nothing measurable.

The way the candidates act like robots,perhaps they arecurrent examples of the merging of Man and Machine.

Here’s what I plan to do on Election Day.

I think that even if you don’t want to vote for President, it’s important to vote for good candidates for the House and Senate. Good candidates are (approximately) the non-theocratic, non-socialistic and non-pacifistic ones. In other words, the ones that are generally pro-capitalism, pro-freedom, anti-taxation, anti-spending, anti-regulations, anti-bailouts, pro-defense and pro-choice, who primarily follow reason and not a mystical or religious guide. Few are going to fit all of these criteria, but some will fit most of them.

Many of the anti-bailout House Republicans, for example, should be rewarded for their fight against nationalizing the banks, withyourvote. (But don’t vote for any Huckabee types.)

Also, since thepacifist-socialist-altruist-leaningObama appears to be headed for the Presidency, voting forany relatively secular, pro-capitalist and hawkish Republicans you can find for the House and Senate is a good idea, in order to fight Obama and at least create gridlock. But don’t votein any more theocratic Republicans. Basically, look for pro-choice Republicans, or those who are not primarily known for religious-right views. In New Jersey, I will vote for Zimmer for Senate, a pro-choice Republican who has beenpraised for his anti-tax record, and Lance for Congress, another pro-choice Republican.

In New Jersey, I will vote for Zimmer for Senate, a pro-choice Republican who has beenpraised for his anti-tax record, and Lance for Congress, another pro-choice Republican.If (pragmatist-socialist-altruist) McCain wins, there is automatically gridlock, as he will be fighting the majority-Democratic Congress. But since McCain is expected to lose, the best hope for gridlock is voting for the better Republicans for House and Senate seats. Gridlock is good because usually, the less the government accomplishes, and the fewer bills that become law, the better for all of us.

Finally, if Obama seems headedto win in a landslide, it may be worth voting for McCain just to avoid an Obama “mandate” by reducing the margin of Obama’s victory.

To sum up, both candidates for President are unacceptable. For Congress, the religious-right Republicans, and big-spending altruist Republicansare unacceptable. The pacifist-socialist-altruist, tax-and-spend Democrats are also unacceptable.

But it’s important to vote for any secular, anti-tax, anti-spending, anti-bailout hawkish Republicans for the House and Senate, if you have any in your district. There is a chance theywill fightwhoever isPresident and the rest of Congress, and at least create gridlock, which is a relatively good thing.

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The Zigory Show will make you hungry!

Onmy latest edition of TheZigory Show, I interview Michelle Steffens, who has been a chef at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill and Bolo restaurants in New York, and who operates her own catering business in New York and New Jersey. She talks about the business and pleasure of food, with anecdotes from her career, and tips on making your own dishes more flavorful.

You may listen to this podcast at now!

Thanks for listening!

(To contact Zigory please email me at

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Podcastic! My Interview with Composer M. Zachary Johnson

I recently recorded an interview with M. Zachary Johnson, composerand music critic for The Intellectual Activist. Deeply inspired by the ideas of Ayn Rand, he is articulate and thoughtful, answering questions with great intelligence. I learned a few things while chatting with him. Topics included what inspired him when composingpieces on his CD “Saxophone Music of M. Zachary Johnson,” the future of Romanticism in music, Ayn Rand’s hypothesis regarding why a series of tones can create emotions, whether serious music is losing its audience, the misleading distinction between popular and serious (classical) music, and how he first discovered classical music.

To hear samples of M. Zachary Johnson’s music,go tohttp://www.mzacharyjohnson.comand follow the links.

To hear my conversation with Matt Johnson, look for it to appear in a few days on, where it will be available as an MP3 file for listening, downloading or saving to your MP3 player.

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My First Podcast

My first Podcast should be coming up in a couple of weeks. It will be available at http://Zigory.SolidVox.comat that time.You will be able to listen online or download the mp3 file to your Ipod or similar device. The identity of my first guest shall remain a secret to all but Prodos (my Production Assistant, Producer, Impresario, Studio Chief), until the program becomes available.

Meanwhile, listen to Stuart Goldsmith’s interview with Andrew Bernstein on the morality of capitalism, available now at

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Psychics Etc.

Before I get to the main comment, here is a followup to my previous post: I emailed the following comments to (with a link to Charles Krauthammer’s Time magazine essay of March 30, 2006 at

I would like the White House to take heed of Mr. Krauthammer’s warning and take decisive military action as soon as possible against Iran’s nuclear program as well as its terrorist training camps and its government in Tehran, who are a sworn enemy of the United States and the real, fundamental source of the 9/11 attacks.

On a less serious topic, when I was attending college decades ago, a psychic visited my campus dormitory, and gave a talk in which he “read” the minds of some of the students in attendance. He seemed to pick up detailed, private facts about friends of mine, facts they had not revealed to anyone but which they admitted to the psychic, and later to me, were true.

This one event made me consider the possibility that psychic powers may be real. I could not explain how, though, so I just filed that away as an open question. I don’t see how he could have had spies all over the campus for the amount of time necessary to learn the private thoughts of so many students.

Well, last night on Court TV, a program called “Psychic Detectives” featured that same psychic from all those years ago, named Phil Jordan ( Although clearly a program designed to promote a belief in psychics, the story they told indicated that Phil Jordan was able to assist the police in a small town, with his calling forth of impeccably accurate details again and again, until they could locate evidence that would solve a murder case.

If anyone who is logic and science-oriented reads this blog (even if it’s a long time after I write this), I welcome any thoughts on the possibility of psychic powers.

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The Objective Standard

I am reading the beautiful print version of the first issue of The Objective Standard and it is outstanding, perhaps worth the price of the whole subscription! It surpasses my expectations. I especially appreciated and will continue to consult (as my children start school) Lisa VanDamme’s article on the hierarchy of knowledge in education.

This is Craig Biddle’s academic journal with an Objectivist viewpoint ( I hope that soon it will be on all the large newsstands and in all the university bookstores, and every Borders and Barnes & Noble store, in the nation (the world?). Craig writes me that one of his goals is that it will be on newsstands within a year.

It is so refreshing to read material by first-rate thinkers. If only everyone knew about this publication — and also The Intellectual Activist ( and Capitalism Magazine ( — then many, many people would develop a different, more accurate perspective than they have now under the influence of today’s typically missing-the-point periodicals and broadcast programs.

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