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Synanon: Self-Help Through Shame and Berating

In 1958, a recovering alcoholic named Chuck Dietrich discovered he had a talent for public speaking.  He was always a big hit at his Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, so he figured he’d take his talents and his $33 monthly unemployment check and try to give back to society.  Dietrich found he’d benefited greatly from A.A., but he was concerned about drug addicts, who weren’t admitted to the organization, because, as A.A. says, drug addiction is fundamentally different from alcohol addiction, and thus would require wholly different kinds of treatment.  Dietrich set out to help drug addicts and anyone else who needed support and organization in their lives.  That’s why he founded a two-year program called Synanon.
The idea behind Synanon was to hold nothing back, because your chemical dependency was probably a symptom of your repressed emotions.  Synanon’s main activity was something Dietrich called The Game, which was designed to release these emotions.  To play The Game, all you did was s…
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The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

The ancient Greeks were the ones who first came up with the concept of the Seven Wonders of the World.  These Wonders translated from the Greek word θεάματα, meaning sights.  To call them Wonders sounds more impressive than calling them sights.  (Sometimes something is actually gained in translation.)  Since it was a Greek list, it’s no wonder that everything on it is either in Greece proper or somewhere in the Greek world at the time.  Since the list dates from about the 3rd century BCE, that was a pretty big world; it included what’s now Egypt, Persia, and even part of Afghanistan.  Of the Seven Wonders, five have been recorded as destroyed by some kind of disaster, either natural or manmade.  The only one that still exists is the Great Pyramid of Giza, and even it has been worn down some by time.
That accounts for six Wonders.  There’s one more on the list that doesn’t currently exist, nor does it have a date of destruction: the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.  The Hanging Gardens were …

Carrie Nation

In 1846, a woman was born in Kentucky by the name of Carrie Amelia Moore.  Her father, George Moore, was a successful farmer who did well enough for himself to own several slaves.  Not long after her birth, though, did the Moore family fall on hard times, losing the farm and moving around the commonwealth until finally settling in the state of Missouri.  Due to Carrie’s family’s circumstances, she was not only poor in health but poorly educated, as well.  On top of that, mental illness seemed to run in the Moore family.  Mary Moore, Carrie’s mother, was institutionalized several times, allegedly believing that she was Queen Victoria.  The Moores moved to Texas in 1862, looking for better farming prospects and keeping in stride with George’s Confederate sympathies.  Texas didn’t work out well for the Moore family, either, so they moved north again, this time to Kansas City.
Carrie’s sickly childhood had ended, and by her late teenage years, she was a healthy young woman.  She had a larg…