Archive for June, 2009

Bid On Lunch With A Celeb, Help A Mental Health Charity

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Hey South Africans: If you’ve got some extra cash lying around, and are in the mood to both have lunch with a celebrity and help a mental health charity (I know those are generally two goals of mine when I wake up each morning), head over to bidorbuy at some point before the end of the day June 30, 2009 for the chance to do both.


The online auction site, a South African version of eBay, will be running the auction over the week of 23 to 30 June. During the week bidders will be able to compete for the privilege of spending time with their favourite celebrity – with cash from the winning bids going to a number of local charities.

Other South African stars up for sale include the grande dame of South African politics Evita Bezuidenhout – and her alter ego, comedian Pieter Dirk Uys – as well as actor and filmmaker Leon Schuster, Independent Democrats leader Patricia De Lille, radio’s DJ Fresh, beauty queen and businessperson Basetsana Kumalo and comedian Barry Hilton.

“The impressive list shows that South Africa has generous celebrities who are ready to donate their time and allow their popularity to be used for worthy causes,” said bidorbuy managing director Andy Higgins in a statement.

The charities set to benefit include IkamvaYouth, an organisation that teaches new skills to children in secondary schools; Matla a Bana, which works to eradicate child abuse; and the South African Anxiety and Depression Group, Africa’s largest mental health support and advocacy group. states “Anyone can bid in the auctions,” but unfortunately I’m not sure if “anyone” means anyone in the world or anyone in South Africa. I just found out about this a few hours ago. I do know that people from all over the world are able to register with bidorbuy. Also, if anyone can bid, I’m sure there’s the issue of traveling to South Africa to claim your prize (should you win and not live close to South Africa).

If you don’t live in South Africa and have any questions about bidding, I recommend contacting bidorbuy, first.

And, …

Jackson, Fawcett, McMahon: Coping With The Loss Of American Icons

Friday, June 26th, 2009
Michael Jackson Memorium 6/25/09

Between 9 and 10:00 p.m EST last night, after jumping off Twitter (yes – Twitter’s “Trending Topics” is how I learned of Jackson’s death) and calling my best friend’s voicemail to sing a few verses of “Rock With You” and encourage her to get out of the fetal position and call me for support, I watched as Michael Jackson’s sheet-covered body was transported – live – out of the UCLA Medical Center, into a helicopter, and then out again and on to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.

It was surreal, and I am stunned.

Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson – Americans have certainly lost a hefty handful of icons this week.

When someone so famous succumbs to mortality, it tends to hit the nation – and the world – as a whole.

For some people, these icons acted as comfortable constants (John Mayor tweeted about Michael Jackson that “a major strand of our cultural DNA has left us” and “we’ll mourn his loss as well as the loss of ourselves as children listening to Thriller on the record player”). For others, they’ve played a significant role (DMB bassist Stefan Lessard remembered how his very first record was one from The Jackson 5, Wyclef Jean changed his Twitter picture to one of Jackson and tweeted about a time the King of Pop visited him in the studio, and Janet McNair wrote about Jackson’s music being the soundtrack of her childhood).

TremendousNews, via Tweeple Magazine, referred to Michael Jackson’s death as “the 9/11 of pop culture,” and that’s probably a pretty accurate description for a number of high profile celebrity deaths – especially those that were so sudden and unexpected.

We flock to our televisions. We watch as cameras zoom in on mourning fans standing outside of hospitals and holding up signs. We listen as the same news reporters who hiked up their ratings with scandals just a few years before now speak of the deceased as if by dying he was somehow transformed into a saint.

We hop on Twitter …

Jon & Kate: Divorce? Really? Is That The Best You Can Do?

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009
Jon and Kate Gosselin throw birthday party for sextuplets in Pennsylvania

So, Jon and Kate Gosselin’s Big Announcement? They’re getting divorced.

Well, actually, during the clip titled “The Announcement,” both Jon and Kate announce (separately) that the couple is separating, but CNN reported (and backed up with a TLC-released statement from Kate) that Kate filed for divorce from Jon on June 22.

Potayto, potahto – the point is, the couple has finally entered Splitsville, USA, Population: 50% of all American marriages (or some such high statistic), and I’m willing to bet most Americans aren’t too surprised.

Me? I was a little surprised. I haven’t watched Jon & Kate Plus 8 since those sextuplets were in cribs; I’m not invested and I didn’t watch “The Announcement.” Still, I was hoping I’d turn on the ol’ computer yesterday and find out “The Announcement” went a little more like so:

“Dear TLC and America: We’ve been married for ten years, we have eight beautiful children together, and our marriage is falling apart. So, while we thank you for all the opportunities reality television has provided, we’d also thank you to kindly get the hell out of our house now.”

Have You TweetPsyched Yourself Today?

Friday, June 19th, 2009

A few days ago, one of my Tweeps (that’s Twitter talk for “friends” – I’m so cool) told me about a new Twitter-related service called TweetPsych.

TweetPsych’s developer, Dan Zarrella, markets the service as a tool for “psychological profiling” (but provides the usual “for entertainment purposes only” disclaimer) and upon first glance, it’s kind of cool. You just type your Twitter name, click “Profile,” and wait for TweetPsych to analyze your last 1,000 tweets and tell you things such as how often you talk about yourself, whether positive or negative emotions tend to dominate your tweets, and even how agreeable a person you are.

I thought about TweetPsyching a handful of popular celebrities who use Twitter (you know, those who really use and “get” Twitter, like @collective_soul, @MCHammer, and yes, even @iamdiddy with his incessent “LET’S GO!”s and “GET LOCKED IN!”s and not celebs like @britneyspears whose tweets smack of “My assistant told me to write this or flat out wrote it him/herself”), but I passed it along to my fellow Psych Central writers first.

Good thing, too.

As it turns out, TweetPsych goes a little bit beyond “for entertainment purposes only”; according to Psych Central’s Dr. John Grohol (whose main points are below in bold), TweetPsych:

  • Was created by someone who seems to have little or no background in psychology, which doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing if the person did his research with proper research tools, but Zarrella…
  • uses two dictionaries that aren’t suited for this kind of service. The first, Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC), is based primarily on people’s writings and spoken words and is not designed for 140-character tweets where abbreviations and retweets, which represent someone else’s thoughts or announcements, run rampant. The second, the English Regressive Imagery Dictionary (RID), was developed by one lone professional and has no research backing.
  • Offers no results explanation whatsoever. My own TweetPsych told me that I talk a lot about myself, express more positive than negative emotions, and show very little anxiety – which are easy enough to understand …

Noise For The Needy Makes The Connection Between Creativity And Mental Illness

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Yesterday I asked you to sound off on the often controversial topic of the connection between creativity and mental illness.

Whether or not there’s a real connection between creativity and mental illness, Noise for the Needy (NFTN), “a Seattle-based non-profit organization that raises money for charitable causes through the production of live music shows”, made one this past weekend by donating proceeds to its annual music festival to Traditional Resources, a mental health center in Seattle that focuses on:

  • Crisis/Hospital Diversion
  • Residential Treatment
  • Intensive Case Management
  • Case Management
  • Housing
  • Psychiatric Services
  • Vocational Services
  • Growing Solutions

NFTN’s Artistic Director, Jeffrey Henry, explained to Seattle Weekly why the organization chose Transitional Resources as its 2009 partner charity:

“We chose Transitional Resources because they fill a rising need for mental-health services in the Seattle area […] Coverage of medication for mental illness will be cut severely over the next year due to local budget shortfalls. This, coupled with the increasing number of veterans returning from ongoing wars who will also need help, made it a pretty easy decision. We feel contributing to TR will have an immediate effect on improving the quality of life for the mentally ill in Seattle.”

So, whether creativity and mental illness are really connected, NFTN – with the help of national and local musicians – made it so this weekend. :)

Do You Think There's A Connection Between Creativity And Mental Illness?

Monday, June 15th, 2009

It seems like nearly everyone who has any interest at all in mental health issues and artists (be they writers, musicians, singers, or actors) also has an opinion about the connection between creativity and mental illness.

Some people might think there’s some kind of connection between the presence of mental illness and a person’s level of creativity and cling to the studies The New York Times‘ Tara Parker-Pope nods to, the ones that “suggest that creative people often share more personality traits with the mentally ill than ‘normal’ people in less creative pursuits.”

Others, like The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Toby Zinman, who asked whether there was a “cheesier, more self-serving assumption than the link between mental illness and creativity”, don’t buy it.

So popular is this ongoing debate that you can even find Creativity and Mental Illness on Wikipedia.

Not that that’s a big deal. You can also find Muffin Top, Toilet Humour, and Unusually Shaped Vegetable.


With so many famous artists throughout history having dealt with (or, still dealing with, in the case of the living) mental illness, it’s really no surprise that, at some point, someone stopped to wonder about whether creativity and mental illness are connected. I only covered a very few during May’s Mental Health Month Spotlight; the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) lists several more – and still, those two lists barely scratch the surface of the list of famous artists with mental illness, much less the list of nonfamous ones.

What’s your opinion on the connection between mental illness and creativity.

Do you think there’s a connection? Maybe that people with mental illness are more prone to be creative, or that creative people are more prone to mental illness?

Or, do you think there is no connection between the two? That creative people are just as likely as noncreative people to have a mental illness as they are to have diabetes or heart disease?

Time To Schedule Some Anger Management, Hugh Grant

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009
Hugh Grant on location for Did You Hear About the Morgans? in Manhattan

So…Hugh Grant randomly kicked a paparazzo in the groin last night.

And you know, that intro just does not do the situation’s level of bizarreness justice.

For the full effect, you really have to watch the video:

Hugh Moron – Grant Attacks in New York

See how bizarre that was? How random? Everyone’s walking along, doing his or her own thing in a seemingly ninja-free zone, when – BOOM! Hugh Grant plants his foot in another man’s groin.

I mean, what was the point? The poor guy wasn’t really doing anything to him. Sure, he was following him around with a camera and incessantly asking him questions, and yeah, I imagine that invasion of privacy is ridiculously annoying. Please don’t think I’m defending that kind of privacy invasion. But was it annoying enough to physically assault the guy? And for a second time? Because Grant’s already been down this road once.

We’ve seen lots of videos in which some celebrity just finally can’t take it anymore and punches, slaps, or pushes a paparazzo – it’s not a new thing. But usually those cases involved the cameraman being significantly closer and more annoying than this guy was.

If I’m not mistaken, Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker are currently filming Did You Hear About the Morgans?, a romantic comedy about blah blah blah scheduled for release in December. I’d like to know whether Parker is going to address this little issue. I know it’s none of her business, but, really – how do you not ask your co-worker about why he randomly kicked a cameraman in the groin the night before. I’d ask. I’d be discreet about it, mind you, but you can bet some variation of “So, Hugh, you might have compromised a man’s ability to reproduce last night. Thoughts?” would come out of my mouth at some point.

Grant’s probably going to be in Manhattan a little while longer for filming. Fortunately, there are numerous anger management clinics in New York. As a matter of fact, Psych …

What Does The Score To Mental Illness Sound Like?

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009
63rd Annual Tony Awards - Press Room

The 63rd Annual Tony Awards took place last Sunday night, and to my understanding the show was packed with excitement.

Having walked away with 10 of the 15 awards it was nominated for, Billy Elliot was pretty much to the Tony Awards what Twilight was to the MTV Movie Awards; only, to my understanding, better (I love you Twilight, but Best Movie? Really? Against The Dark Knight? It makes no sense).


Bret Michaels broke his face after rocking out to “Nothin’ But a Good Time” with the Rock of Ages cast (unsurprisingly, YouTube is ready to meet all your “I-Gotta-See-That” needs).

Entertaining! Really, I’m glad he’s okay and able to laugh about it. That could have been serious.

And Next to Normal – presently one of the most talked about Broadway shows, if my Google Alerts are any indication – took home three of the 11 nominations it came in with: Alice Ripley won for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical, Tom Kitt and Michael Starobin won Best Orchestration, and Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey won Best Original Score Written for the Theatre.


Both Sides Of The Sudden Fame And Celebrity Coin

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Susan Boyle was released just five days after voluntarily checking into the Priory Clinic in London for emotional exhaustion (or, anxiety, as her brother has stated). This is good news indeed, but after reading a few more articles about the situation, I’m now thinking about more behind-the-scenes issues that led to her problems.

I’m sure numerous factors went into setting the stage for Boyle’s emotional exhaustion; however, if I were to draw some sort of line graph illustrating those factors, know that “gaining sudden fame and success” would be at the beginning and “losing sudden fame and success” would be at the end.

I didn’t feel this way last week when we first learned of Boyle’s troubles. I simply thought she’d pushed herself very hard, for a very long time, and – with the Britain’s Got Talent competition ending – was finally feeling the negative impact of all that.

Mental Health America: "Celebrating the Legacy: Forging the Future"

Thursday, June 4th, 2009
MoMAs 41st Annual Party In The Garden

Next Thursday (June 11, 2009), Mental Health America will honor Senators Edward Kennedy and Pete Domenici as part of its Centennial Conference and Gala, “Celebrating the Legacy: Forging the Future,” to celebrate its 100th anniversary working toward mental health education and advocacy.

Special guest speakers that night include:

  • Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and former Second Lady Tipper Gore, both of whom have been very vocal in promoting mental health awareness and eradicating stigma.
  • The late Senator Paul Wellstone’s son David Wellstone, who worked with Carter to pass the “Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act.”
  • Neurosurgeon and media personality Sanjay Gupta.
  • Oscar-nominated and Tony, Emmy, and Golden Globe award-winning actress and mental health advocate Glenn Close.

Entertainment will include performances by Dwight Yoakam and Vanessa Carlton.

To my understanding, there’s still time to register; the entire conference is from June 10-13 in Washington, DC.

If any of you are planning on attending, be sure to stop back by Celebrity Psychings to let us know how it went!


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