Wells Fargo Ad Hardly Hilarious



Has anyone else seen these pastoral images of surety in full page apology ads and found it odd?

I wonder if the ad agency got the memo. They have to come up with something new. Like a photo of their entire management team bowed in supplicatio. Seriously. Horses?

They use these horses and talk about how sorry they are that they betrayed our trust.

They should have pictures of their entire sales team bowed in supplication showing how sorry they are they got caught.



Words….Inc…Trying to get in Miami Herald these days….


The most new words I come across are in the New York Times Book Review. Last night I stayed up until 2am catching up with past issues. Trying to get published in Miami Herald, a tough nut to crack. I’m on my fourth submission. Waiting, reading, evaluating what gets published in place of my stuff. It’s humbling, isn’t it?

Paucity: The presence of something in insufficient amounts, small, not enough.

Meritocratic: Power or political office based on ability, credentials, education. (….NOT!)

Impunity: Exempt from punishment (in AA’s “Big Book” they mention those who drink with impunity)

Madrasas: College with instruction in all things Muslim. Maybe they send young women there. Gotta check on that

90’s Film “Swimming With Sharks” w/Kevin Spacey


It’s “Shark Week.” And I’m back out in the water, crawling my 1 1/2 miles with a back brace on to prevent me from aggravating my spine twisting my torso too far when I turn right and left for a breath of air.

Little by little, we lose things we love and adjust, accept and move on. I’m the worst, constantly trying to ‘have iot all,’ as my health deteriorates. lololol! I need to go back to AA and practice “Acceptance” and  “Life on Life’s Terms.” Did those faces trigger or seem punitively grim to anyone else? Or am I the only one?


Anyway, movies like these, (and I’ll bet you never heard of “Swimming With Sharks),” helps me with chronic pain. Maybe cuz it’s my favorite topic: Hollywood Studios and the machinations taking place behind the walls.

It was an indie film and did not get wide distribution. I lived in LA when it came out and also when the film “Affliction” was released, featuring Nick Nolte, Willem Dafoe, Sissy Spacek and the late James Coburn.  Family alcoholism and mental illness passed on and one in a small town in Maine. The bitterly cold climate was a perfect counterpoint to the simmering rage between brothers over ‘who fucked up the worst’ similar to Bloodline. These are Indie films with A-listers.

What does that tell you about Hollywood, Money And Power?


I taking on the ‘powers that be’ trying to address a side effect of antipsychotics that’s mostly covered up.

It’s a movement disorder. I have it.  If I say what, I’m afraid you’ll split. But it’s important. It may be rarer than we thought but it’s real. People at risk or showing early signs need to know.

Deal? Help me? Click and/or comment on this little story if you think we can help each other…. and I’ll find out who you are and we can talk about whatever. On WP, we do that, or at least that’s my experience.


Valentine’s Day and My Wonderful Man Michael



Not a huge valentine’s day person but just finished up a piece on being in a relationship with another person w/bipolar disorder and mistakes I would never make again. One relationship was with another person Dually Diagnosed like I am. And he refused psych meds, which I (unbelievably), let slide!!!


I wanted to jump from my 12th story balcony but he actually tried to.


Then I met Michael. We were all in AA at the time and Michael walked up to Paul and said, “I’m with Allison Now, and we’d appreciate it if you didn’t bother her anymore.” And that night, two years after Paul had tried to jump off my balcony, he overdosed on Xanax and had to go to the hospital again. I’ve been with Michael now for 17 years. I can’t imagine a life without him. I love him so much. He’s my other half, my better half. I don’t know what I would do without him. Here is a photo of us, back when I had money to have my hair cut regularly, and back when I also was struggling with antipsychotic weight gain. I’m skinny now but not any happier than when I had the dough and a doughier body. Michael, this one is for you! I love you forever. Allison Biszantz (aka bipolar brainiac or Allison Strong)

What about we who R sentenced to a lifetime struggle /mental illness?


The tortured man behind Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor, who in the 90’s said he would not take anything for his diagnosis of bipolar disorder. And more.,….below. The suicides and accidental OD’s are only part of a much larger story!


trentreznorI was listening to Lithium yesterday (Sirius 90’s-my ‘stuck in the 70’s-type station’), and Matt Pinfield, a programmer I used to know, told a story about NIN’s Trent Reznor and how before he formed his band, he’d seen Ministry and fallen in love with Al Jourgenson’s vocal style and stage presence.

I wasn’t clear on the next part, but there was something about nails…an actual nine inch nail he pounded into a piece of wood and there ya go, Nine Inch Nails.

I wonder about Trent, how he’s doing now and how in the 90’s  he refused treatment for Bipolar Disorder. Even though I benefit (and get penalized healthwise) from psychiatric meds, I think that with the kind of agonized self expression he had with his band, he might have been able to transfer the majority of madness to the music so it didn’t eat him up inside.

But that only works for so long. When the creative well runs dry for a little or a long while, then what do you do with all that pain? Look at what happened to Hemingway, and many others?

We look at the suicides of movie stars, writers, artists, and rock musicians only when they happen and then we move on to a more pleasant topic.  We gave the most attention of late to the late Kurt Cobain yet his music lives on as if we never lost him.

People never talk about his bipolar diagnosis or his chronic pain. What drove him to the poppy to begin with.

What about the accidental OD’s of people like Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith,     Rivers Phoenix, Scott Weiland, and so many  like me, sentenced to a lifelong struggle to achieve and retain mental health?

Add that to someone famous; with commercial restraints imposed on them by their handlers? The late Scott Weiland mentioned his ‘handlers’ or ‘minders,’ as he called his sobriety coaches, with sarcasm and disdain. How could he not when if you read AA’s Big Book, it’s emphasized that neither the material nor the wisdom within it be used for commercial gain?

When I went to rehab more times than I care to admit, I too was skeptical of  for profit centers reliant on the 12 steps as a framework for their programs. It’s not ethical. Yet we Canonize places like the Betty Ford Center in Palm Springs for making Liz Taylor Mop the Floor or Hazelden in Minnesota for having one of the “Cagney and Lacey” stars come back and give talks?

When one of the celebs accidentally experiences an early expiration date; falling off the shelf to their death,  we hardly notice and blame them for their symptoms-substance abuse. It’s a symptom, man, mental illness and inferior coping skills the cause.

Why should we cast aspersions on drug abusers looking for an instant fix to what ails them when we ourselves live in a ‘risk vs benefit,’ ‘drugs will fix it’ communal existence with the American Medical Association, Big Pharma and our own health care providers?

Why? Why? Why?

Manic While Mystery Shopping

So I was mystery shopping after getting my certification and driving from one supermall to another. I was the type of customer that the workers remembered so if I felt I was getting to familiar and and so forth I would tell the mystery shopping people and they would take me off the account.

They always pay you less than you are going to want to spend. For example, I was sent to L’Occitane, a shop with perfums and soaps that start at forty bucks. And for that shop you are given 30 to spend. Yuk, right?

Then I got a string of ‘shops’ that’s what jobs are called at Chanel and Dior cosmetic counters. A total of six. One after another, pretending to be interested, accepting a makeover, fun, right? Not so much, really. I was given 80 to spend, and their eye shadows start at 50.00. And if you get a makeover for free or go to a class, you will have so much pushed on you that it’s hard to stay within budget. The company was called “A Closer Look,” for those of you who want to do this kind of high end sampling.

Then there was the three hour long report with 200 questions on the back end of each shop.
And there was something wrong with their computer system. So I had to do each of these reports twice. That was the end of mystery shopping for me. Because the report was due tomorrow and they didn’t take any responsibility. Plus I had incurred credit card debt on account of being in stores, shopping, while manic. Never a fine idea.

Brainwashing using trendy Buzzwords.

If I see the words “Mindful” “Balance” or “Recovery” again I am going to barf. They are just overused. We are being spoonfed the essential values and virtues of these words, “Mindfulness,” “Recovery,” and “Balance.” And when we swallow these buzzwords wholesale, do all of us really understand what they mean? Do they mean a different thing to each individual? And the arrogance, as if these are the only words to describe a conscious effort to live and heal constructively.

Mindful:  To me it sounds like a passive buzzing in the head while knitting or making jewelry. I much prefer the word “Vigilant.” Or “Watchful,” even “aware.” My life means the world to me and after all this time, I’m not going to have it yanked away by some destructive distraction, like body image preoccupation 24/7.

Recovery. From what? Cholera? I much prefer the term “Reclaim.” Because when we live in the solution we are reclaiming the life that my higher power, whom I call God, wanted me to have.

And “Balance.” How ‘catchall’ can you be? If I’m passionate about something, I’m “All In,” (if you want to see a really trending phrase) How about the words “Even,  “Equal?” “Proportionate?” “Varied?” “Integrated?”

I ran into the ‘balance’ business with a disingenuous eating disorder therapist who did not understand that certain psych meds slow people’s metabolism, drive their hunger, at least mine, and weight is hard to keep off. I was discharged for being ten pounds heavy. She said I was not making progress.  I went in there for a destructive case of exercise bulimia, which is not unlike cutting. THAT was the behavior we were supposedly treating, not whether or not I was carrying a few extra.

She did not understand that the meds made some sugary and starchy foods super triggering- kick starting endless food binges. I’m better off avoiding these foods completely.  She said that that attitude was not ‘balanced,’ and even eating disordered in and of itself. Seven years later I find myself with metabolic syndrome, half way down the road to the big ‘D.’ I take no solace in the fact that I’m right. But she was wrong and she was the ‘expert.’ Now she claims to be a “Celebrity Eating Disorder Therapist,” has straightened a beautiful head of hair, has lip implants and botox. Good for her. She now charges over 600.00 an hour. Her photos have a wind machine blowing her long straight hair. A Wind Machine? That is so 80’s. Poor girl. She doesn’t know what she’s doing.

So many bipolar people have an eating disorder (14% according to a recent study cited in Psych Central from the Cincinnatti College of Medicine) that it’s not even funny. So for an eating disorder therapist to have no clue re antipsychotic’s metabolic side effects was dismaying.

BUT ANYWAY, back to the BUZZWORDS. If you start hearing a word harped on all the time, that’s because it’s the lynchpin of someone’s platform. I have a platform. We all do. But what’s good for me is not necessarily good for you, or you, and that’s why the mass overuse of these platitudes representing key values for our lives bug me.

I’m into individualized therapy. I revel in the idea that we can use new ideas (that we think of ourselves) to solve old problems.   Clichés are hollow.

Allow yourself some passion and to value one thing over another. If one thing matters more to you than anything else, allow it to weight more.  it might be because it’s a good thing that makes you happy!