social, health, political imagery through the lens of G J Huba PhD © 2012-2021

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This book can improve all of your handwritten communications, reminder notes, task lists, shopping lists, and make the birthday cards you send more memorable.


Think about receiving a birthday card or letter that is handwritten beautifully and legible. It costs $20 and an investment of 2 hours to be able to do that.

Living off sticky notes like I have to with memory problems is not a lot of fun when you can’t tell if you are supposed to pick up mulch or milk at the store or if you have $51 or $62 in your checking account. When you don’t do what the sticky note you made to yourself says, you can’t use the “Even I can’t read my own handwriting” excuse unless you are willing to look (and feel) like a clown. (more…)

vaccinate - 1

Our family members never bark, whine, or bite when they receive the vaccinations that keep the world safe from some very nasty diseases. Instead they feel proud that new litters of pups and people will never have to experience the communicable diseases of childhood and the adult phases of their lives.

Bark loudly at those who do not take these responsibilities seriously. No treats for those who do not learn the laws of the global village.



Attention in the USA has been directed for a few days (and will be for another few days) at the huge winter storm hitting about one-third of the US population at some time this week.

For days, deaths will be counted and accidents portrayed on television. If it is a typical big storm week in the USA somewhere between 50 and 300 deaths will be attributed to the storm. Awful, yes. Some will be because elderly and poor people died due to lack of heat. A lot will be because some idiot (often under the influence of alcohol) was driving a car unnecessarily. But the count will be in the 100s.

Think about this a little. ONE-THIRD of the US population is indoors for 2-4 days with a warm living room with comfortable chairs, TV sports showing fairly aggressive games (football and hockey, basketball sometimes), and a just recently stocked refrigerator and pantry full of salty food, beer, wine, wine coolers, bourbon, gin, Jim Beam, and Johnny Walker, and the rest of their friends.

How many TENS OF THOUSANDS of spouses, children, and elderly will be physically assaulted (slapping, punching, raping) during this period of domestic bliss in a winter wonderland? How many will be berated and be psychologically drawn-and-quartered by other individuals in the household? And because of the weather, the police will not be able to respond quickly to the reported (a small percentage of those that actually happen) domestic violence calls. Probably my estimate in the first sentence is off. Probably HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of spouses, children, and elderly will be physically or psychologically assaulted by the combination of closeness, alcohol, and various aggressive stimuli not the least of which is now also Internet pornography. And the television news.

And how many of the “idiots” killed on the road during the storm were spouses and children fleeing from an inebriated and abusive partner?

Being forced to be inside with too much alcohol and TV and “domestic bliss” is a recipe for long-term scars, shattered lives, and the transmission of domestic violence across generations.

Does any liquor store in your town stop sales starting a day or two before a blizzard? The liquor stores in many US states are controlled by the state government (and directly run by them). Does any grocery chain stop selling beer and wine?

The real victims are those who endure an indebriated adult or teen during days spent indoors and future generations if forced to repeat this cycle again and again.

And in many cases it is your state government perpetuating it.

Break the cycle.

Break the bottles of alcohol.






There are a lot of reasons to be overwhelmed by the occurrence of a major weather event (snow, tornado, hurricane, heavy rainfall with or without an accompanying electrical storm, flooding, extremely high or low temperatures, smog, fog, and many others). With the exception of the television stations, Internet retailers, weather forecasters, and disaster supplies merchants sold out of milk and eggs, most people are adversely impacted by extreme weather.

I think it is fair to state that those living with dementia — whether living in their own homes or various types of care facilities — are among those most affected by adverse weather conditions; I certainly feel that I am. People with dementia do not do well with ambiguity and confusion and a disruption of regular plans. Medications may be missed, panic may set in, the food pantry may be bare, and needed life supports may be missing as caregivers are stranded. And while the news broadcasters love their opportunity to get all of the air time, they get it by endlessly describing deaths, accidents, closed schools and business, police overstatements of the problem designed to keep people within their homes, and the bubble head news anchors still unable to describe anything accurately so fall back on their “horrible” stories of how difficult it was for them (self-anointed heros all) to drive into the television studio at 4 AM.

No wonder everyone living with dementia ends up confused (and worse).

A mind map of problems and suggested partial “solutions.” Click on the image to expand its size. Use your telephone to contact friends and family who may be experiencing difficulties such as those I describe.

Why a Person with Dementia May Be Overwhelmed by a Major Weather Event

If you (or anyone else) needs assistance during a major weather event, dial 911 (or your local number) and speak to your local law enforcement or emergency medical response agency. They have the equipment to make it to your location during heavy rain, flooding, blizzards, and tornadoes. The American (and world-wide) network of first responders to emergencies is a highly dedicated and well-trained group who can help in many different ways.

Dr King was one of two public figures who lived during part of my lifetime that I most admire and respect.

His legacy is among the most important in American history and had the most impact of any public figure upon my own life.

I too have a dream …

Dr Martin Luther King Jr

This is a minor revision of a mind map first published in 2014.

If you use a computer, you can easily create a compelling set of visual reminders. Or, if you are a caregiver, you can create this for another person.

My question to Google was to find the UNC basketball schedule for the rest of season.

Out popped this snappy graphic …


So I clipped it.

Then I sent the clipped image to my notes file, Evernote database, and my photograph database.

And then the Evernote, notes, and photograph databases on my Mac (which was using so I did the clip on it) synced with my iPad and iPhone automatically via the Cloud. Had I wanted to, I could have also had the information automatically sync to the devices of caregivers, friends, and social media friends.

So then I got so excited I also wanted to have a copy of the UNC baseball schedule for the first weeks of the season. So I clipped that and let the Cloud sync everything.


You have many more tools than your parents and grandparents did that will permit you to maintain a very good of quality of life even though you have neurodegenerative disease or are simply going through a typical process of aging.



Oh yeah, if you want to store dumb cat pictures you can do that. If you do, please don’t share them with me.

dumb cat pictures

January 11 2016 is the first World Sketchnote Day. FIRST one. EVER. Submit a sketchnote on social media and you can be a PIONEER. Get yourself one of those #1 fingers at your local football stadium.

Since reading the two books by Mike Rohde @rohdesign I have been convinced that sketchnotes are a fantastic way to make informational notes (reminders, lists, summaries, addresses) if you have or want to prepare for cognitive impairment and later dementia.

Image the power of a sketchnote about a friend or a favorite vacation or Wisconsin or the joys of ice cream or your favorite Super Bowl when your memory is declining. Something novel and compelling and engaging may help trigger many memories and even build new ones.

I love my photo albums, but a sketchnote goes beyond a photo and allows for a summary including stylized graphics, emotions, memory triggers, relationships, and feelings of success and love.

I have long believed that mind maps and sketchnotes are extremely powerful tools for sparking and prolonging memories for those facing neurocognitive disorders or just normal aging. The topic is discussed in many blog posts here – use the search engine on

I am especially enamored with the idea of combining sketchnotes and Buzan-style mind maps.

A sticky note with a sketchnote stuck on a refrigerator or computer monitor or mirror could help a person with dementia or cognitive impairment have a better day. Think about that. I personally need a funny sketchnote reminding me to shave on the mirror.

I am a rank amateur at sketchnoting (I spend most of my time working on the theory of mind mapping) but I still use lots of sketchnotes every day. A sticky note page has become synonymous for me with a mini-sketchnote.

Here is my sketchnote for the first World Sketchnote Day #SNDay2016. My sketchnote is extremely amateurish but is extremely effective for me (a person with neurodegenerative disease and dementia).

If you are a pro sketchnoter, please help by developing methods to help those with cognitive impairment remember, plan, understand, and communicate. If you are someone dealing with cognitive decline, or a caretaker or family member, give this method a try. It takes a pencil and a pad (and maybe some refrigerator magnets). If you are a healthcare provider, consider giving your patients reminder sticky notes which use sketchnoting principles.

My sketchnote of the day complete with the official #hashtag. I am a pioneer. Whoo-hooo. Thanks #MikeRohde. You’re #1.


Think you have a million of those sticky notes on your computer monitor, office wall, idiotic memos, email you printed out as well as in your wallet, pockets, and stuck on file cabinets.

About a “million” is nothing. Wait until you have aging memory or neurocognitive impairment (MCI, dementia). You will be buying more sticky notes every time you get near a Big Box office supply store.

Think you are going to keep all of the reminders you write yourself all day by typing them into an electronic device? Uh huh. I’ve started down that track many many many times in the past 35 years starting with the very first Palm Pilot that came on the market and progressing through an iPaq (yup, the spelling is correct), the Treo smart phone, Blackberries, the iPhone, the iPad, and a dozen different kinds of laptop and notebook computers.

I confess. I failed. Every time I tried.

I ended up with those damn sticky notes and file cards. At least now I take pictures of the sticky notes with my iPhone and upload them to Evernote and (Apple) Photos where I never can find them again.

Now sadly it comes down to that problem of legible handwriting. If I can’t read the note 10 minutes later, it didn’t happen. Used to be I could remember what I wrote on the note. Now … well why do you think I wrote the note? There is no memory backup if you cannot read your own handwriting.

Legibility. Come on, how many of your friends write legible printing or cursive handwriting? Do you? Can you do it quickly?

I started using fountain pens and LARGE cursive writing a couple of years ago and it helped but there were still a lot of notes that I have to guess at words which is pretty silly because I wrote them. It might be a joke in the office to say “I can’t read my own handwriting,” but it is not funny at all if the only way you can remember what to buy at the grocery store is from a handwritten note.

Italic handwriting is super fast and almost invariably legible. It takes 1-2 hours to learn and practice. That’s it. Works with ballpoint pens, pencils, fountain pens, and I suspect crayons although I have yet to formally test crayons (one of the kids “borrowed” my crayons off my home office desk).

You can start to learn italic handwriting from this very short article in the New York Times and a few charts you will find scattered around the Internet. Yes, really. TWO hours. For definitive books, search for Getty and Dubay and buy their book on adult handwriting.

Learn this method of handwriting and when you get old and your memory is going, you will at least be able to read the memory notes you wrote for yourself, family, caregivers, and healthcare providers.

Click the mind maps to expand them.

Italic HandwritingHandwriting Tools





remaining examples all fountain pen (different pens)


Special note: If you want a computer font to use in various graphic application programs, take a look at Sketchnote Italic by designer (and sketchnote father) Mike Rohde. This font is the best match I have found to Italic Printing and is exceptionally clear and “memorable.” It also has the property of looking “relaxed” and may be less stressful for those reminders you really don’t want to remember. Mike’s font is the one used in the mind maps above.

Rohde’s books on Sketchnoting are highly recommended as definitive sources for combining printed handwriting and small “doodle-like” graphics to enhance understanding and memory. These should be on the must-read list for anyone using handwritten notes.



I have a neurodegenerative disease for which there are no approved and proven medical treatments. [Click here for more information.]

In my blog on I discuss and demonstrate cognitive and behavioral techniques (NOT treatments but ways to deal with day-to-day life) when your cognitive functions are decreasing dramatically.

I am running an N=1 study on myself. I try methods, I report the results. I enjoy extending my prior career and I benefit from it.

lab mouse

Definitive science? ABSOLUTELY NOT. But suggestive of methods which might be explored further. I do not have the time or research resources to run necessary studies on hundreds of people. But I do have a 35 year career as a well-respected psychological methodologist behind me and I use this experience to try to ensure that I do not over-interpret my “findings.”

Recommended for you or an elderly family member? Ask your doctor. Every person and set of circumstances is different.

Treatment? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Just inexpensive and easy-to-learn cognitive-behavioral methods of coping with the effects of decreasing brain power. There is no evidence at this time that changes in the brain occur.

Worth It? Seems to be for ME.The cost in $s is only a few hundred per year for a mind mapping program, a tablet or Mac or PC to run it on, and possibly a few inexpensive books. I am not selling you anything. If you would prefer, you should be able to replicate any of the mind mapping examples I demonstrate here with a few colored pencils or pens and a pad of paper, all of which you probably own already. I prepare mind maps that help me remember doctor appointments and names and vacations and the rest of my life. The maps help me plan, learn, communicate with others, tell my story, “sort out” medical information, and relax because I am doing something useful. I use both computer programs and hand-drawn methods for generating mind maps. MY quality of life is better (and I say that unequivocally).

Please join the discussion and help evaluate the findings.

Over on the left is a button for accessing ALL blog posts in reverse chronological order. I would start there. It will give you a sense of the range of topics I cover.

If you are interested in my take on the theory of mind mapping (or in my expanded view, mind modeling), click the button for HITMM.

Click the following mind maps to expand them. [Individual posts in the blog explain these maps in detail.]

Live long and prosper.



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Oh, let’s not forget my collaborator and part-time therapist Sabra …