Archive for April, 2012


Larry Zbysko

Larry Zbysko: professional wrestler.

I was totally brainwashed by my childhood idols -  comic book heroes like Superman, the Lone Ranger,  and one of my all-time favorites, Zorro.  There was no doubt in my mind that saving the helpless from injustice, thwarting evil and winding up with the beautiful damsel in distress was what life was all about.  In fact, the first thing I did to my first house was put in a secret door so I could be just like Don Diego.  Man, was I screwed up.  Nevertheless, by the time I was twelve I knew what I was destined to become.  I was going to be a hero.

Zbysko was still in his teens when he met the man who would make his dreams come true:  Bruno Sammartino.

There was no doubt in my mind that I could achieve my childhood dream if I emulated this guy.  I’d protect the weak, stop evil in its tracks and fly above the real world like Clark Kent.  That’s right, I was going to become a professional wrestler.

Zbysko’s dream came true just a few years later when, at 21, he won his first wrestling match.

The fans went berserk, blowing the roof off the arena.  I was victorious—in just seventeen seconds.  It couldn’t have happened any other way:  Bruno’s protege has just exploded onto the scene.  Feeling the energy, the emotional outbursts of thousands of people in unison, I was hooked.  I began to live to pop crowds.  And I was never nervous again.

Guy Stuart Ritchie

Guy Stuart Ritchie: British film star & film director.

Born: 10 September 1968

As a child, Guy Ritchie knew he was different from the other children in school but he did not know why.  It was not until adulthood that he discovered the caused of his difficulties with reading and writing.  By then he had dropped out of school without graduating and had even done a turn as a day laborer.

By the time I found out I was dyslexic, I didn’t give a hoot. Even when IQ tests showed that I was bright, I wasn’t interested. I found out so early that I couldn’t do schoolwork that I was just interested in being disruptive.

Fortunately for anyone who saw him in the blockbuster 2009 version of Sherlock Holmes, Ritchies’ inability to read the stories did not stop him from knowing them and learning them well.

I was very fluent in all the [Holmes] stories since I was a boy.  I used to listen to them on tape before I could read so I knew them very well.

In fact, because he was able to focus on the words he was hearing rather than trying to read, he was able to form a mental image of how Holmes should look and move and think.

Funny enough, I’ve never seen any of the other previous productions so I have no visual reference for Sherlock Holmes….I have no sort of baggage that I bring with it.  It’s really how I saw Conan Doyles’ Holmes and Watson.

Helen Taussig

Helen Taussig: doctor and medical researcher in pediatric cardiology.

Born:  May 24, 1898

Died:  May 20, 1986

Like many other women of her time in history, Helen Taussig gave up her chance to have a family on her own in order to serve the family of mankind.  Originally thought to be slow, and unable to learn, she went on to become a doctor, medical researcher and leader in the investigation into “blue baby syndrome” in which infants were born with heart defects.  She was also one of the first American doctors to warn women of the potential harm of certain medications if they were taken during pregnancy.

Her friend and colleague Jeanne Stevenson remembers

It has been observed that Helen Brooke Taussig was involved in ‘women’s liberation’ long before the term was coined. She got into and through medical school, won ‘male-dominated appointments,’ and battled ‘medical and male chauvinism’ throughout her lifetime.  And significantly, Helen B. Taussig is ‘revered by students and colleagues not only as a fine teacher and doctor, full of compassion for her small patients, but as a woman as well.’

John Skoyles

John Skoyles, neuroscientist

You exist because your big brain was “hot” as a child. Simply, your 20W adult brain used 30W of energy between four and nine years of age. This is due to SPEND (Synaptic Prolonged Expensive Neurodevelopment). Paleoanthropologists ignore this neuroscience, and its key role in making us smart. Here the jig-saw puzzle of your origins is explained.

Even though his brain was hot as a child, John Skoyles received a cold reception at school.

I went to school with a machine gun in my brain. I hated teachers. I was dyslexic. I pissed my pants and wetted the floor. When primary school year two came—they would not let me go up. Not ready, they said—“Mentally retarded”. Somehow my curiosity survived. I had to learn to break the rules. Spit out the educational crap. Keep the howitzers of my imagination ready.

Today he has found a way to harness his “brain guns” into some of the most amazing ideas on psychological evolution ever written.

I go on ten day retreats three times a year. Ten days of no words… In that stillness awareness opens. You—whatever that it is, if it is—does not have to be important or unimportant—all things are precious and just dust in the air. Nothing has a name.  Nothing needs to be said.

So I am moving on.  Decommissioning the machine gun in my brain.  Making safe my howitzers.

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